Pol will must to resolve water conflicts: Hasan

Dhaka – Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Friday underscored the need for forging a strong political will to resolve the ongoing trans-border water problems in the South Asia region.“Conflict has been prevailing in the South Asian countries over the sharing of common river waters. If the political leaders feel that the people living in the downstream areas of the common rivers have an equal right to water like the people living in the upstream, they’ll extend their cooperation in resolving the conflict,” he told the inaugural session of a conference here in the morning.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) and Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) organised the international conference on ‘Water Resources in South Asia: Conflict to Cooperation (IC WRSACC)’ at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University.
Chaired by Bapa president ASM Shahjahan, the inaugural session was addressed, among others, by vice chancellor of Buet Prof Dr SM Nazrul Islam, Prof Gopal S Chinton of Tribhuvan University, Nepal, Kelly Alley of Auburn University, USA, BEN member Dr M Khalequzzaman, chairman of Conference Organising Committee Prof Nazul Islam, Bapa general secretary Dr Abdul Matin.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Hasan Mahmud said there has been no increase of singe drop of water since the creation of the planet, but the use of water is on the rise keeping pace with the population growth and the increasing development works.
“The demand for water is increasing due to the fast growing population and thus conflicts break out in the South Asian countries, including India, Nepal and Bangladesh over water sharing of the common rivers. The ongoing water conflicts should be resolved through mutual cooperation,” he emphasised.
The Environment Minister said there may come a day when no life will survive on the planet for lack of availability of water.
Bapa president ASM Shahjahan said the use and misuse of water has cast a serious impact on the environment and many species, water resources and biodiversity are going to extinct in many river basins across the world for lack of water flow.
He stressed the need for announcing a regional water use policy in the South Asia region to share the waters of the common rivers on equity basis.
Terming Bangladesh a flood-prone country, Prof Dr SM Nazrul Islam said the people of the downstream countries like Bangladesh are affected by floods every year, and the flood intensity will rise in the future due to global climate change.
At present, he said, a significant number of people in the country have no access to safe water.
About sharing the water of the common rivers, Dr Khalequzzaman said the Indian River Linking project that poses a serious adverse effect to the downstream river basins of the common rivers in Bangladesh is the main obstacle to Indo-Bangla relations.
(SOurce: United News of Bangladesh)

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