Centre to help sort out Jharkhand-West Bengal water-sharing dispute
The dispute revolves around Jharkhand’s decision to review the 1978 water agreement that the then undivided Bihar — of which Jharkhand was a part — had signed with West Bengal to share water from four common river basins between the two states.india Updated: Apr 26, 2017 22:40 IST
In another inter-state water dispute brewing between Jharkhand and West Bengal over sharing of water from four common river basins, the Centre looks inclined to back the Jharkhand government.
The dispute revolves around the Jharkhand government’s decision to review the 1978 water agreement that the then undivided Bihar — of which Jharkhand was a part — had signed with West Bengal to share water from four common river basins between the two states.
Jharkhand’s grouse is that despite the rivers flowing from the state, it has not been able to use it as West Bengal has failed to honour its commitment to build dams on the rivers. On the other hand, West Bengal has refused on the ground that the projects will adversely impact irrigation facilities in the state.
Union minister of state for water resources Sanjeev Kumar Balyan has said the Central Water Commission (CWC) can help the two states “re-do” the water-sharing agreement.
The government’s support has come at a time when the BJP is trying to expand its footprint in West Bengal.
In a letter to Jharkhand MP Nishikant Dubey, who had raised the issue in the Lok Sabha in August last year, Balyan said, “… the agreement not being in favour of Jharkhand, the state has taken the initiative to review it. The CWC will help the states in this initiative.”
Dubey had said that “grave injustice” has been done to Jharkhand. “Though we (Jharkhand) store the water from the rivers in four dams built in the state, maximum water is being used by West Bengal. We have to also depend on West Bengal to meet our power needs…,” he had said.
Dubey said that under the agreement, West Bengal had to build six dam at their expense but they have failed to do so. He had sought the Centre’s intervention on the ground that though all the rivers originate in Jharkhand but West Bengal gets all the benefits.
The 1978 agreement was signed for the sharing of waters of Damodar Barakar, Ajoy, Mayurakshi Sidheshwari Noon Beel and Mahananda river basins.