Issues Of Water Sharing In Bangladesh History Essay

9. After the materialisation of the autonomous democracy of Bangladesh in December 1971 it was felt that the issues which had antecedently bothered Indo-Pak dealingss refering East Pakistan would be resolved. However the affairs continued to persist with consecutive political parties seeking to crush out a reciprocally agreeable solution. The consecutive government alterations and pre-dominance of the armed forces in Bangladesh besides contributed to protracting the issue. The countries of contention with respect to the H2O are discussed in the undermentioned paragraphs.


10. In January 1961, the Government of India announced it ‘s decsision to travel in front with a program to construct a bombardment across the river Ganges at Farakka. This determination reflected India ‘s concerns to work out the jobs being experienced at the port of Calcutta with the physique up of silt on the river Hooghly. But the determination initiated a struggle with Pakistan ( and subsequently Bangladesh ) over the much bigger issue of H2O use in the whole of the Ganges basin. When Bangladesh came into being in 1971, it was felt that the Farakka issue would be solved amiably. In May 1974, when Sheikh Mujibur Rehman came to India, Indira Gandhi gave a confidence non to committee the Farakka undertaking before an understanding on the sharing of the Ganga H2O was reached. Therefore an interim understanding was signed in April 1975, covering the flow of the Ganga during the thin period,21 April to 31 May, by whichmain part of the H2O was given to Bangladesh. The two states besides agreed to run the feeder canal with India taking her portion in the undermentioned mode: –

Month Ten-day Period ( Dates ) Withdrawl ( cusecs )

April 1975 21 – 30 11,000

May 1975 1 – 10

11 – 20

21 – 31 12,000



11. It was besides agreed that squads dwelling of experts from both states would study at the suited topographic points in both the states the effects of the Farakka backdown in Bangladesh and on the Hoogly river. A joint squad was besides to be placed at the bombardment to enter the discharge into the feeder canal and residuary flow into Bangladesh. However after the blackwash of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman in August 1975, the military authorities started to badmouth India at every possible chance impeaching her of taking all the H2O of the river. Bangladesh lodged an official protest with India on 15 January 1976 against the operation of the bombardment. It besides raised the issue globally, in the Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference in Islamabad in May 1976, at the Colombo Summit of the NAM in August 1976. The UN Secretary General was besides apprised of the state of affairs in April 1976.

12. After the Janata Government came to power in March 1977, dialogues were resumed. Negotiations were held covering assorted facets of both long term and short term understandings on H2O sharing. In effect the two authoritiess signed an understanding on 5th November 1977 as a short term solution, while a feasibleness survey of a long term solution was left to the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission which was to subject its recommendation within three old ages. The information collected over clip indicated that flow during the thin season was every bit low as 55,000 cusecs at Farakka. The adept sentiment was that the minimal demand to maintain the Calcutta port navigable in the thin season of April-May was 40,000 cusecs. The staying 15,000 cusecs was more than what Bangladesh needed during the thin season. Prime Minister Moraji Desai, nevertheless agreed to a much smaller portion and give the larger measure to Bangladesh. This baronial gesture was considered a little forfeit for a weaker and smaller neighbor for bettering understanding and good will. The period of execution was five old ages. However it came with unfavorable judgment. Some called it a “ sell-out ” while several believed India had “ masked much with small in return ” . The protest of the West Bengal Government were ignored and it was non even consulted before the understanding.

13. The Congress Government which came to power in 1980 was critical of the understanding and considered it negative to the involvements of the Calcutta port. Both authoritiess decided to end the the 1977 agreement and commence fresh efforts to accomplish a lasting solution. This was to be completed within 18 months by the Joint Rivers Commission. The new sharing understandings agreed upon were to be imposed for the following two dry seasons i.e. 1983 and 1984. The discharges agreed upon for the first 10 yearss of January were 40,000 cusecs for India and 50,000 cusecs for Bangladesh. This would be reduced increasingly until the 10 yearss of April, when the single portions for the two states would be 20,000 and 34,500 cusecs severally. By puting clip bound both counties intended to show their serious purposes to see each others proposal and make a concluding solution.

14. With Rajiv Gandhi ‘s visit to Bangladesh hopes rose once more, when on the decision of his visit on 2nd June 1985, he expressed a acute desire and preparedness to settle all bilateral differences including the Ganga issue. The Indo-Bangladesh Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 22nd November 1985 on the sharing of Ganges dry season flow for the following three old ages ( 1986-88 ) . Bangladesh would acquire 35,000 cusecs of H2O and India slightly less than 40,000 cusecs during the dry season. It was besides agreed that the Joint Committee of experts would look for a long term strategy, a survey to be done within one twelvemonth. The Joint Committee of experts and the JRC met at regular intervals throughout 1986. Nepal was besides incorporated for a possible co-operation and part in the Ganges H2O development. However the one twelvemonth clip bound passed and the Joint Committee survey was inconclusive. The lone accomplishment of the Rajiv-Ershad negotiations was the puting up of a undertaking force co-chaired by the concerned secretaries of H2O resources in the two states to consider upon short and long term steps. The 1985 MoU expired in November 1988 with the Indian authorities make up one’s minding against extension of the understanding on sharing of Waterss during the thin period.


15. In 1991 some informal treatments took topographic point between Bangladesh and India. In May 1992, 1993 and 1995 it was discussed at acme degree. For assorted grounds, chiefly since the state of affairs had become more complicated with the transition of clip, the dialogues failed to accomplish any drift, unluckily to Bangladesh ‘s hurt. This state of affairs dragged on farther, until 1995 with progressively inauspicious effects for Bangladesh. During the SAARC acme at New Delhi in May 1995, the so Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and India, directed their several foreign secretaries to get down negotiations instantly and interrupt the deadlock in the declaration of this long suppuration job. During the Indian Foreign Secretary ‘s visit to Bangladesh in June 1995, it was agreed that a lasting sharing trade on the footing of bing dry season flow in the Ganges without affecting it to the augmentation factor, may be worked out. It was further decided upon that sharing of other common rivers may besides be deliberated upon on long term footing. However, no advancement was made thenceforth due to political uncertainnesss in both states and a period of dead end ensured virtually no high-ranking contacts between the two states. The political swing in both the states in mid-1996 seemed to hold paved the manner for a lasting solution.

16. In May 1996 the United Front-led alliance authorities came to power in India with Mr HD Deve Gowda as Prime Minister. In Bangladesh a month subsequently the Awami League was voted back to power with Sheikh Hasina going the Prime Minister. These two developments, go oning about at the same time, was the turning point for both the states. Serious treatments for geting at a solution began merely after this alteration of authoritiess. Both the sides realised the exigency of the affair and conveyed to each other their political duty to turn to and decide the issue. Both authoritiess besides shared the perceptual experience that it was necessary to come to an understanding within the twelvemonth before the beginning of the following dry season. During the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary ‘s visit to India in August 1996, the Indian Prime Minister said that his authorities was really acute to see the job resolved within the shortest possible clip. In September 1996 when the Indian External Affairs Minister visited Bangladesh, the two sides had detailed negotiations on sharing of the Ganges H2O. This was followed shortly by the visit of the Bangladesh Minister for Water Resources from October 28 to 1st November 1996. Subsequently, from 9th to 13th November 1996 the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh visited India for working out the concluding modes. The joint attempts of the authoritiess of Bangladesh and India to make at an agreeable declaration of the hard issue of Ganges H2O sharing received a encouragement during the visit of Mr Jyoti Basu, Chief Minister of West Bengal to Bangladesh. This unit of ammunition of negotiations was of critical importance as they narrowed the differences to bridgeable extent.


17. After a great trade of political dialogues and legion unit of ammunitions of high degree negotiations Bangladesh and India signed a historic 30-year agreement on sharing the Ganges H2O on 12 December 1996 opening a new epoch in dealingss between the two neighbors. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Indian Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda at New Delhi signed the landmark pact. The pact was based on the values of equality and fairplay, taking into history the involvements of both states.

Major characteristics of the pact are: –

( a ) It will be unfastened to both parties to seek the first reappraisal after two old ages to asses the impact and working of the sharing agreement as contained in the pact.

( B ) The quantum of H2O to be released by India to Bangladesh will be at Farakka.

( degree Celsius ) The sharing will be in ten-day periods from January 1 to May 31 every twelvemonth.

( vitamin D ) The sharing of the Waterss will be on 50-50 footing when handiness at Farakka is 70,000 cusecs or less.

( vitamin E ) Bangladesh will acquire 35,000 cusecs and India the balance of flow if the handiness at Farakka is between 70,000 and 75,000 cusecs.

( degree Fahrenheit ) In instance of handiness of 75,000 cusecs or more, India will have 40,000 cusecs and Bangladesh the remainder.

( g ) During the most critical month of April, Bangladesh to acquire a guaranteed flow of 35,000 cusecs in the first and last 10 yearss of April and 27,633 cusecs during the period 11-20 April.

( H ) If H2O flow at Farakka falls below 50,000 cusecs in any 10-day period, the two authoritiess will come in into immediate audiences to do necessary accommodations on an exigency footing.

( J ) India shall let go of downstream of Farakka Barrage H2O at a rate non less than 90 per centum of Bangladesh ‘s portion till such clip the reciprocally agreed flows are decided upon.

( K ) The H2O released to Bangladesh at Farakka shall non be reduced below Farakka except for sensible utilizations of H2O, non transcending 200 cusecs, by India between Farakka and the point on the Ganges where both its Bankss are in Bangladesh.

( cubic decimeter ) A Joint Committee dwelling of equal figure of representatives of the two states shall put up suited squads at Farakka and Hardinge Bridge to detect and record at Farakka Barrage, the Feeder Canal, the Navigation Lock, and at the Hardinge Bridge.

( m ) The Joint Committee shall subject to the two authoritiess all informations collected by it and shall besides subject a annual study to both the authoritiess. Following the entry of the studies the two authoritiess will run into at the appropriate degrees to make up one’s mind upon such farther actions as may be needed.

( N ) The sharing understanding under this pact shall be reviewed by the two authoritiess at five old ages interval or before, as required by either party.

18. Under the pact India ‘s entire portion during the thin season ( 1st Jan to 31st May ) amounts to about 48 % of the entire handiness, as against 52 % for Bangladesh. The agenda besides specifies the three ten-day periods during which 35,000 cusecs shall be provided, alternately, to each of the two states. For Bangladesh it was March 11-20, April1-10 and 21 to 30, and for India the day of the months were March 21 to 30, April 11 to 20 and May 1 to 10. The period from March 11 to May 10 is considered the critical period of the thin season as the flow of the Ganges is normally the lowest of the thin season. The understanding was arrived on the footing of the mean handiness of H2O between 1949 and 1988. India has guaranteed in the pact that every attempt would be made to protect flow handiness. The major facets of the pact are: –

Handiness at Farakka Share of India Share of Bangladesh

70,000 cusecs or less 50 % 50 %

70,000 – 75,000 cusecs Balance of flow 35,000 cusecs

75,000 cusecs or more 40,000 cusecs Balance of flow

19. The disagreement over ‘augmentation ‘ , which had led to an deadlock in the yesteryear, has been side stepped as the pact is in kernel sing the sharing of lean-season flows. Though the present pact does non include a ‘minimum warrant ‘ but has several scattered commissariats which provide a step of security to Bangladesh. The H2O pact has already improved the bilateral dealingss radically. However the effects of building of the bombardment and recreation of H2O was felt by both states. Some of the major effects in Bangladesh were: –

( a ) Decrease in surface and land H2O degrees. The decrease of dry season ( January-May ) natural flows in the Ganges in Bangladesh reduced the hydraulic efficiency of the channel to such a grade that even during high flows in monsoons the progressive debasement of the channel and its hydraulic features remains unbridled. An inevitable effect of H2O decrease in the river channels is lessening in the sum of dirt wet and land H2O resources.

( B ) Channel morphology of the river. The channel morphology of the Ganges and its distributaries has besides been affected since the commissioning of the Farakka Barrage. The Farakka Barrage included several high speed penstocks, known as silt excluders, which were intended to let silt to flux down the Ganges. The bombardment was designed so that silt-free H2O would be diverted down the Bhagirothi-Hooghly and the deposit burden would be carried by the staying flow on that river into Bangladesh and the sea. This deposition of silt has changed the flow of the river in Bangladesh.

( degree Celsius ) Navigation facets. Since the commissioning of the Farakka Barrage, in 1975, several waterways, which are dependent on the Ganges, flows have been badly affected. A sum of 685 kilometers of waterways that were negotiable during the pre-diversion period have been affected. In little more than a decennary, several of import paths open to mechanise vass had to be abandoned. Farakka did hold a detrimental consequence and that serious break of the inland pilotage was caused by backdown of Ganges H2O by India.

( vitamin D ) Incr in degrees of salt of land and surface H2O. The most annihilating consequence of the recreation of Ganges H2O has been the pronounced addition in salt, in both surface H2O and land H2O, ensuing in higher dirt salt in the southwest part of Bangladesh. The increased salt was wholly interpretable in the visible radiation of the increased backdown of the Ganges H2O. This has had a black consequence on the agricultural end product every bit good as the eco-system.

( vitamin E ) Agribusiness. For Bangladesh, the reduced flow of the Ganges has had both immediate and long-run effects including lower agricultural and industrial productions, depletion of land H2O militias, depletion of dirt wet and alterations in the dirt construction. Agribusiness being the foundation of economic system in Bangladesh, enlargement of irrigation installations in the country served by the Ganges has suffered grave reverses that retarded growing in agricultural sector.

( degree Fahrenheit ) Fisheries. In Bangladesh, piscary ranks next to agriculture in economic importance. With the altered flow form in the rivers, the ecological features positive for fish genteelness evidences have besides changed. Fishery has suffered, particularly in the sou’-west Bangladesh, from reduced flow due to a combination of the undermentioned factors:

( I ) Decline of perennial wetland country.

( two ) Conversion of perennial wetlands into seasonal H2O organic structures.

( three ) Drying up of seasonal H2O organic structures.

( four ) Prevention of engendering migration.

( g ) Forest screen and environmental issues. Another lay waste toing consequence of increased salt has been witnessed in the forestry sector. The chief species of tree in this wood is Sundri ( histories for 60 % of the marketable lumber ) , does non hold adaptative tolerance to high salt. Thus the northbound incursion of salt forepart has begun to demo a worsening tendency in the Sundri output.

( H ) Public wellness. Last, but non the least, is the concern about inauspicious consequence in the wellness sector. The changed ecological state of affairs has augmented the potency for the genteelness of legion disease vectors, and therefore, wellness and healthful conditions have become more parlous. Not merely have safe imbibing H2O supplies diminished on history of a autumn in land H2O degrees, increased salt and the deterioration of the quality of land H2O itself have caused a rise in the happening of assorted enteral diseases in the country.