Call resonates to sign basin-based water treaties with India


Staff Reporter :
A discussion meeting held on Saturday at the Jatiya Press Club commemorated the historic Farakka Long March, led by the late Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani.

Speakers at the event, organized by the International Farakka Committee (IFC), highlighted the vital role of river waters in safeguarding Bangladesh’s existence and sovereignty.

The discussions revolved around the impact of the Farakka Barrage, constructed by India on the Ganges River.

Speakers recalled that in May 1976, just months before his passing, Maulana Bhasani led a historic Long March demanding an end to India’s unilateral withdrawal of Ganges water.

Concerns were raised about India opening the Farakka Barrage on a trial basis without a formal agreement for water sharing on this transboundary river.

This unilateral action, speakers noted, resulted in a significant decrease in water flow reaching Bangladesh, severely impacting agriculture, fisheries, and riverine transportation.

The Farakka Long March, however, is remembered as a pivotal moment in Bangladesh’s history.

The movement fostered national unity and garnered international support for Bangladesh’s water rights. This collective effort ultimately led to the signing of the first Ganges Water Sharing Treaty in 1977.


The discussion featured prominent figures, including Jatiya Party Chairman Mustafa Jamal Haider as the chief guest.

Writer Siraj Uddin Sathi, Sheikh Rafiqul Islam Bablu (President of Bhasani Anusari Parishad), Mostafizur Rahman Iran (Chairman of Bangladesh Labour Party), Gaziul Hasan Khan (former Chief Editor of BSS), and Rashed Prodhan (JAGPA senior vice-president) all participated in the event, chaired by IFC Coordinator Mostafa Kamal Majumder.

Speakers underscored that the importance of the Farakka Long March resonates more than ever today. The speakers further said that Bangladesh faces a new challenge as water diversion upstream on 54 out of 57 rivers are shared with India. This unilateral withdrawal is causing rivers like the Teesta to dry up, devastating agricultural yields and livelihoods.

Jatiya Party Chairman Mustafa Jamal Haider, delivering the keynote address, emphasized the critical threat, he said, “India’s actions are destroying Bangladesh’s rivers and water resources, leading to desertification.” He urged for national unity to confront this challenge. “Our lands are shaped by rivers,” he declared. “Water and sovereignty are one and the same.”

Dr. Mostafizur Rahman echoed these concerns, highlighting the dire consequences of water withdrawal from Bangladesh’s shared rivers. He stressed the importance of educating younger generations about the significance of the Farakka Long March.

Siraj Uddin Sathi spoke about the necessity of national unity in securing Bangladesh’s water rights. He pointed out a concerning disparity: “India has voices raised against the Farakka Barrage, while Bangladesh seems silent on the issue.”

The impending expiration of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty in 2026 and the lack of a Teesta River agreement were also addressed. Speakers urged the government to leverage national consensus in pursuing basin-based water-sharing agreements with India for all shared rivers.