General

Treaty on Teesta should cover basinwide management: IFC

International Farakka Committee (IFC), an environmental and water rights watch group, has said that agreements on basinwide water management of the natural common rivers is now a demand of the time.

It welcomed the statement of Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen regarding Teesta river issue. Referring to his statement, the IFC in a statement on Friday said any agreement between Bangladesh and India should be with an aim to keep the rivers’ natural flow alive.

It was reported that Foreign Secretary Momen said a day before his departure for New Delhi that Bangladesh wants to hear positive news on Teesta water sharing and simultaneously continue the discussion on water sharing of other common rivers.

Momen was talking to journalists on foreign office consultations (FOC) of the two countries on January 29.

He was also scheduled to finalise the details of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in March to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.

The IFC said Bangladesh and India should strive to keep the common rivers alive from their points of origin in the mountains to their outfalls in the sea and adopt the universally accepted formula of basinwide water management.

They should come out of the faulty notion of water sharing at border and opt for integrated management of the natural water systems by earmarking minimum 30 percent of average flow for their own survival. The formula of water sharing at border did not succeed in the case of the Ganges, IFC pointed out.

And since both the countries are talking about bilateral treaties, such documents should, like and Indus and the Mohakali treaties, have provisions for guarantee of minimum flow and mutually acceptable arbitration to resolve differences of opinion about their implementation.

Because of these two provisions, the Indus Treaty survived wars between Pakistan and India, and the Mohakali Treaty between Nepal and India has proved stable, said the IFC.

Signing of comprehensive basinwide water management treaties would also create conditions conducive to either country extending help to the other country in their internal water management efforts, it added.

The statement was signed by Atiqur Rahman Salu, Chairman and Sayed Tipu Sultan, Secretary General, IFC New York; Prof Jasim Uddin Ahmad, President and Dr SI Khan, Senior Vice President, IFC Bangladesh; and Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Coordinator of IFC.

Source: United News of Bangladesh