Talks can solve Indo-B'desh water dispute: Expert
A US expert on river resource management has said the dispute over sharing Ganga water could be resolved via intense bilateral talks.india Updated: Jun 23, 2006 12:25 IST
The dispute between India and Bangladesh over sharing of Ganga water could be resolved through "intense bilateral negotiations before signing multiple agreements at the top level", opined American expert on river resource management Robert Wirsing.
Dr Wirsing, a senior professor of International studies at the University of South Carolina, said it was unfortunate that in spite of setting up of a joint River Commission at the ministerial level in both the countries, no major initiative was taken to bring a permanent solution to the long standing dispute.
Referring to his recent experience in Bangladesh following a week-long visit there, Dr Wirsing said there was a palpable feeling among the commoners in that riverine country that a faulty river water sharing agreement between the two governments had led to the present impasse under which a large chunk of farm land in Bangladesh was deprived of water for irrigation.
The problem had now reached to such a state that the issue was even referred to the UN by the Bangladesh authority hoping for an immediate and permanent solutions to the dispute, Dr Wrising said.
About the sharing of water data between the two countries in order to prevent recurring floods and to conduct more research on the modalities of sharing of the Ganges water particularly during the lean period, the US expert said non-availability of adequate information about the flow and quantum of common river waters had also greatly contributed to the present impasse.
This was particularly critical for flashy rivers like the Monu and the Muhuri along the eastern border of Bangladesh, Dr Winsing said and underscored the need for more intense negotiations between the two countries to overcome the bilateral problem.
Highlighting some of the solutions to the problem, Dr Wirsing felt that it was primarily related to the problem of drainage congestion, which had mostly affected the Indian side of the common rivers, which flow into Bangladesh from the upper Indian region.
According to him, the problem became more acute when people on the downstream side built cross dams on small streams to impound water for irrigation or navigation.
This might also happen due to unplanned construction of various structures that might impede the natural drainage pattern of the locality.