Settle water-sharing issue on basin-wide management: IFC

Dhaka, Oct 3 (UNB) – International Farakka Committee has urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to pursue for settling the water-sharing issue on basin-wide management of the Teesta and other common rivers during her India visit to save the rivers’ natural water system.

In a statement, leaders of international water rights activist group said it is heartening to note that the Teesta will figure among the issues to be discussed during the Bangladesh Prime Minister visit to India.

Sustainable management of rivers is now the universally accepted formula of sharing rivers to keep them alive from the points of origin to their outfall into the sea through basin-wide management, they said.

The committee leaders mentioned that given friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries and the goodwill, leaders of both the countries should have a long-term and holistic view of river sharing and give up the mistaken notion of water-sharing at the border which is political, not natural.

In this connection, they drew attention of the two countries to decisions given by the apex courts in Bangladesh and India declaring rivers as living entities and said the two neighbouring countries are thus also legally and ethically bound to keep the common rivers alive.

The committee leaders said the rivers are natural entities. They shape the environment, ecology, life and livelihoods in the countries of the region and cannot be divided at borders.

Quoting from studies made by Indian water experts, they said flood recorded in the current monsoon season is the result of the barrages and dams constructed of various rivers and their poor management. The current spell of floods in the Gages basin in Bangladesh is due to Farakka Barrage which the Indian state of Bihar wants to be decommissioned.

The signatories to the statement are Atiqur Rahman Salu, chairman, and Sayed Tipu Sultan, secretary-general, International Farakka Committee, New York; Prof Jasim Uddin Ahmad, President, Dr SI Khan, senior vice-president, International Farakka Committee, Bangladesh, and Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Coordinator, International Farakka Committee.