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Bengal was informed about the Bangladesh water treaty

Image Source: India Today

The West Bengal government has been actively involved in discussions with the Centre regarding water-sharing agreements with Bangladesh, particularly concerning the Teesta River and the Farakka Treaty. Government sources informed India Today TV that the Centre had communicated its engagements with Bangladesh to the West Bengal government. This communication included the Centre’s request for West Bengal to nominate a representative for a committee tasked with reviewing the 1996 treaty on water-sharing at Farakka between India and Bangladesh. The Bengal government responded by nominating its Chief Engineer (Design and Research), Irrigation and Waterways, on August 25 of the same year.

In response to these developments, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her objections to what she perceived as unilateral discussions between the Centre and Bangladesh. She cited concerns over the impact of these treaties on West Bengal, highlighting issues such as erosion, siltation, and floods that she attributes to the Farakka Barrage. Banerjee emphasized the importance of these water-sharing agreements, particularly the Farakka Treaty which is set to expire in 2026, stating its implications for livelihoods and navigation in Kolkata port.

Recently, during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the leaders discussed renewing the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996 and the conservation of the Teesta River. The Teesta River has been a contentious issue, with plans for India to construct reservoirs and infrastructure to manage its water.

The Farakka Agreement, which governs the sharing of Ganga River waters between Bangladesh and India, is slated to end in 2026. This agreement stipulates how water from the Farakka Barrage on the Bhagirathi River is shared between the upper riparian India and lower riparian Bangladesh, situated approximately 10 kilometers from Bangladesh’s border.

The ongoing negotiations and discussions underscore the complex dynamics involved in transboundary water management, balancing the interests and concerns of multiple stakeholders, including state governments, national governments, and neighboring countries.

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