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Ganges water sharing: India shouldn't deprive BD

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03rd-Jul-2019       
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INDIA deprived Bangladesh of its guaranteed Ganges water share for 65 per cent of the time during the critical dry periods in violation of an agreement signed between the two countries 23 years ago. A statistical analysis of the post-treaty data (1997-2016) indicates that 65% of the time Bangladesh did not receive its guaranteed share, according to a study conducted by a four-member panel of foreign and local experts.
During the March 21-31 cycle in the year 2010, the actual release to Bangladesh was only 474 cubic-metres per second, which was 44 per cent lower than the indicative release of 841 cubic-metres per second. Such failures in ensuring the minimum guaranteed flows to Bangladesh occurred frequently during the most critical periods over several recent drier years between 2008 and 2011.
In 2010, for instance, the flows at the Hardinge Bridge during the three alternate 10-day cycles were nine per cent (March 11-20), 38 per cent (April 1-10) and 21 per cent (April 21-30) lower than the stipulated release of 991 cubic-metres per second from Farakka. The actual yearly releases from Farakka and the corresponding flows at the Hardinge Bridge were also compared during the post-treaty period (1997-2016). The results reveal that overall 31 per cent of the times (94 out of 300 events) Bangladesh received less water at Hardinge Bridge compared to presumably what was released from Farakka. One of the major barriers to a successful implementation of the treaty are an inaccurate projection of future available flows at Farakka and an inappropriate provision of guaranteed flow during critical dry periods.
It is thus not too difficult to see the reasons for the reduction in water flows to Bangladesh. All of the above mentioned problems can be solved with political goodwill. As our biggest neighbour India can help us if they want. But the main problem seems to be the difference in political will between the centre and regional governments, especially the West Bengal government of Mamata Banerjee. So political will have to exist at the regional level but since Mamata Banerjee is dependent on her vote bank it seems unlikely that the problem will be resolved in the near future.


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