Ken-Betwa river link project spells trouble

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The government of Bangladesh should undertake all necessary diplomatic efforts to ensure the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty is not violated

It has been reported that the Indian government is planning to proceed with their project to link the Ken and Betwa river basins, which will have dire consequences for water flow to Bangladesh. This move by the Indian government will not only negatively impact the environment and economy of Bangladesh, but it also threatens to sour a friendship that is crucial to both countries.

The Ken-Betwa link project will cause a shortage of flow in the Padma River, one of the major contributory rivers in Bangladesh. According to experts, the project would withdraw water from upstream, thus making the land in this country barren, and affect the livelihood of millions and the economy of the country.

As a lower riparian country, Bangladesh has already been subjected to considerable suffering due to the control India exerts on the Ganges river flow. This has not only caused ecological deterioration in parts of Bangladesh, including in the Sundarbans, it has also taken a toll on the health of the population by increasing the salinity level of water and has caused economic damage by adversely affecting agriculture and industrial growth.

India’s behaviour in this area over the years has also fueled popular resentment in Bangladesh against India and has jeopardised the important trade partnership between the countries. The decision to proceed with the Ken-Betwa project, taken unilaterally by India in violation of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty with Bangladesh, will only further deteriorate the public perception in Bangladesh.

It is now up to the government of Bangladesh to undertake all necessary diplomatic efforts to ensure that such blatant violation of the treaty does not come to pass and to make it clear to the Indian government that we will not be bullied on an issue of such critical importance to our country.

 

 

Source: Dhaka Tribune