Environmentalists from Bangladesh demanded to decommission and demolish the infamous Farakka and Gajoldoba barrage and at the same time ensuring fair water share in the trans-boundary Ganges and Teesta rivers.
The demands were made at a press conference jointly organised by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) and Jatiya Nodi Rokkhya Andolon in the wake of International Day of Action for Rivers, 2017 at the city’s Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) on today. Dr Abdul Matin, the general secretary of Bapa was the key speaker at the conference while Bapa vice-president Rasheda K Chowdhury presided over the program.
Dr Abdul Matin said that, 8 percent of the Ganges basin is within the Bangladesh’s territorial area and rest of the portion is in India; still there is no point in giving 92 percent of water to India. Again Teesta’s 16 percent basin is within Bangladesh but at the same time 50 percent of the total population living at the Teesta basin resides at the Bangladesh’s portion; considering this fact, Bangladesh requires a 50:50 share of the Teesta River leaving 3,200 cusec water for the river itself.
Rasheda K Chowdhury said that, protection of human rights is associated with the protection of the river. Bangladesh needs to resolve all the root problems of the trans-boundary river issues at the Prime Minister’s upcoming India tour.
Sheikh Rokon, a member of Jatiya Nodi Rokkhya Andolon said, “We need to declare our solidarity with the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal as they both are demanding to decommission of Farakka and Gajoldoba”. Other activists warned, “Let the river run its course towards sea otherwise sea may overturn to river”.
The environmentalists also claimed that, it is important in this regard for Bangladesh to sign and ratify without any further delay the 1997 UN Convention on Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, which can provide a legal basis for Bangladesh’s demand