EFFECT OF GANGES WATER SHARING TREATY
ON BANGLADESH ECONOMY AND
The Ganges water sharing problem is not only the longest standing source of dispute between Bangladesh and India but also by now one of the most elaborately studied subjects in inter state relations in South Asia. The flow of the Ganges water stands 7000 waters above the sea level at its points of origin in Nepal and traverse for about 2550 kms through Nepal, India and Bangladesh before falling in the Bay of Bengal. The main stream of Ganges splits into two channels before entering into Bangladesh, one flowing as Bhagirathi-Hoogli into West Bengal and the other as Padma into Bangladesh. The Ganges water dispute centres around the Barrage and the feeder canal constructed by India at Farakka, 18 kms upstream from Bangladesh. The Barrage is designed to divert part of Ganges dry season flow through the Hoogli-Bhagirathi river for flushing the silt in Calcutta port. The impact of the Ganges water i.e. the adverse affect of the Barrage on Bangladesh is enormous and multidimensional. These have been several short term sharing agreements; the first one was worked out in 1977 and the land one ram out in 1989. Since them there was a total vacuum in the arrangement. The Governments of Bangladesh endeavored to their utmost to solve the issue. However, amidst of all efforts, due to
the unilateral apothegm withdrawal of water by India the agro-economic condition of Bangladesh aggravated to the maximum. And thus, a long term water sharing treaty has been in all aspect a need of the time.
The Ganges water sharing treaty signed on December 12, 1996 is very significant. Infect it was a thorny issue in the relationship between the two countries. Since the commissioning of the Farakka Barrage in 1974, Bangladeshi agricultural, fishery, forestry, navigation, industry and every possible productive sector has been exposed to disastrous consequences. Historical balance has been servile disrupted by this substantial diversion of the Ganges flow during the dry season. Bangladesh proposed construction of the excess monsoon flow through storage in the Ganges basin in India and Nepal. India proposed instead transferring water from Brahmaputra river. Each side rejected the others proposal. The negotiations were then in a deadlock. The stalemate resulted from the two sides' very different approach to water resources management. All on a sudden the bilateral relation improved with the change of government in Bangladesh. An the long term treaty signed on Ganges water sharing is a reflection of that relationship between Bangladesh and India.
One striking feature of the Ganges as a river is that its flow are highly seasonal, with heavy floods during the monsoon and actuate scarcity during the dry season. The presents treaty assures a limited water for the lower riparian Bangladesh. The questions that arise out of this are :
How best we can utilize the water for our agro-economic development,
What are the implication of the treaty on our national economy and regional relationship ?
This paper endeavors to bring answers to these questions.
This paper aims to highlight the utility and impact of the Ganges water treaty signed on 12 Dec 96, on the economy of Bangladesh and her relationship with the regional countries.
Adverse Effects of the Reduction of the Ganges Flow
Impact of reduction of the Ganges flow in various sectors are inter dependent and inter linked. Some of these are quantifiable while some other can only be qualitatively discussed.
Surface Water. Economic life of the south-west region of Bangladesh is dependent on the Ganges. Of its distributors, the Gorai plays the dominant role as it passes towards the industrial belt of Khulna. The sweet water supply through the Gorai is vital for-pushing back salinity and keeping an overall environmental balance. The...
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