Siliguri, India (BBN)-With hope that the BJP would come into power in New Delhi following the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in India, a section of people in the neighboring country of Bangladesh is getting hopeful of an early resolution of the long pending dispute over river Teesta and Mahananda water sharing between the two countries.
Despite national level agreement between the two countries to have it resolved, the dispute remained under knots following strong opposition of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee over sharing of the waters of these rivers which enter Bangladesh after flowing over her state, reports The Economic Times.
At this juncture, the BJP brings new hope to Bangladesh water activists.
"BJP president Rajnath Singh is highly vocal on the Brahmaputra water issue.
He wanted India and Bangladesh to be on board to persuade a proper share of river Brahmaputra's waters from China. So we believe, his party will keep a similar and positive outlook on the sharing of Teesta waters too," said activists from Bangladesh.
While talking to ET earlier, BJP's West Bengal state president Rahul Sinha also said, "This is a serious issue and an acceptable solution of this is very important."
Issues of Teesta and Mahananda have already gained extreme height in Bangladesh.
These two rivers, with Bangladesh in the downstream, flow through barrages in Gajaldoba and Fulbari in West Bengal while feeding the Teesta Barrage irrigation Project(TBP), one of the major central river taming projects of India.
"But to keep the TBP running, Indian authority always prefer blocking the lion's share of the water flow from Teesta and Mahananda, making Bangladesh dry.
Because of this, only the Rangpoor region alone has lost over 7,50,000 ha of farmland," claimed the activists.
According to TA Khan, Indo-Bangla Joint Rivers Commission member from Bangladesh, it was obligatory for India to maintain the 40-year average flow of water that has allegedly not been maintained.
As a result, "Bangladeshi waterways have shrunk from about 24,000 km in 1971 to the present length of 3,800 km only," states a research of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), an environmental organization of international repute.
According to North Bengal Flood Control Commission officials, India wants 50 percent of Teesta water leaving 40 percent for Bangladesh and 10 percent for the river itself.
But Bangladesh is in favour of making the ratio as 40 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent.
Interestingly, despite having 54 common rivers, India and Bangladesh have a water sharing treaty for river Ganga only.
"The waters of river Ganga are always shared through Farakka according to the mutually agreed protocol," said Farakka Barrage authority officials. But, the Indo-Bangla Ganges water sharing treaty 1996 did not specify any specific volume of water that India can utilize.