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Bangladesh: Crisis looms as India plans water diversion

Shashanka Saadi
Associate Programme Coordinator
ActionAid Bangladesh
Plot 1/13, Block B, Humayun Road
Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207
Tel: (880-2) 8111763, 8118378
Fax: (880-2) 9137753
"fighting poverty together"

Dear all

Please go through the news pasted below.

It is indeed a devastating news and red signal of long term disaster in the subcontinent. Already not only Bangladesh but also major part of West Bengal has been suffering due to "Farakka Barrage". If India would try to go on with a plan of diverting water channels in the name of mitigating crisis of southern part of the country, it will trigger blood-shed in the region. It is indeed a political propaganda and mission to strengthen political hold of BJP in Karnataka and other southern state of India.

What we need now to mobilize people of both India and Bangladesh against the evil planning of Indian Government. However, it would be possible if we could strengthen our People's River Commission (PRC) in India, Nepal and Bangladesh to mobilize people's voice.

If you have any queries let me know.

Crisis looms as India plans water diversion

$120 billion project to re-channel Brahmaputra, Ganges, Jamuna waters

Staff Correspondent

India plans to unilaterally divert one-third of the Brahmaputra river waters annually to its northern and southern regions, threatening Bangladesh with a serious crisis. A US$120 billion project will re-channel 173 billion cubic meters of waters a year to Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka states, said Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, president of Bangladesh Economic Association.

India will dig 30 canals and build 37 dams under the project also to divert flows of the Ganges and Jamuna rivers, he said at a follow-up discussion on 3rd World Water Forum in the city yesterday.

The diverted water will be used to meet irrigation and household needs in drought-hit Indian states, Dr Ahmad added.

Terming unilateral re-channeling of such a huge quantity of water by India as 'unacceptable', he said it would make Bangladesh suffer seriously.

Dr Ahmad said water-sharing talks in the South Asia region should include Nepal, a suggestion India refuses to accept. New Delhi is in favour of bilateral negotiations with Dhaka.

Speaking at the meeting, organised by Media Network for Sustainable Development (MNSD), Dr Khandakar Azharul Huq, managing director of Dhaka WASA, urged India not to take any unilateral decision on the international rivers.

He, however, said that Bangladesh should not follow a confrontational water-sharing policy towards India.

Among others, Advocate Goutam Chakraborty, state minister for water resources, JL Ijermans, ambassador of Royal Netherlands in Dhaka, Dr HR Khan, vice-chairman of Bangladesh Water Partnership, and Shamsuddin Ahmed, chairman of MNSD spoke on the occasion.

Source: The Daily Star, April 07, 2003, Internet Edition, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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