The cost of a delayed Teesta treaty
The cost of a delayed Teesta treaty.
Bangladesh shares 54 of its 57 transboundary rivers with India.
Bangladesh experiences severe water crisis in the dry and lean season in most of the shared river basins due to upstream intervention by India, which impedes the livelihood options of the river dependent communities of the country.
But the deadlock in transboundary water sharing is considered as an impediment to the bilateral relation between these two nations.
Among the shared rivers of India and Bangladesh, a water sharing treaty exists only for the Ganges, which itself took two decades of negotiation.
When India constructed the Gazaldoba barrage in the upper Teesta region and started large scale irrigation projects in 1989, the water flow in Bangladesh was severely reduced.
Whereas, due to enormous water scarcity, on Bangladesh’s side this figure stands at 20 percent of its total irrigable area, which turns worse during the dry season as a large share of water is diverted and utilised by India through the Gazaldoba barrage.
The 1,11,406 hectors of irrigable land in the Teesta basin area inside Bangladesh can be irrigated in the Aus and Aman season but during the Boro season, a large amount of land is kept uncultivated due to water scarcity.
During the last ten years, Teesta was entirely dried up five times, which has had enormous ecological costs.
Although delayed, if New Delhi comes up with optimum solutions and restores the confidence of Dhaka regarding transboundary water issues during the upcoming visit of our Prime Minister, it will definitely strengthen the bilateral relationship between these close neighbours.