The International Farakka Committee (IFC) on Wednesday urged the government and others concerned to start the process of renewal of the Ganges Water Treaty for basin-based integrated regional management of the river to keep it alive and ensure its benefits to all the people on its banks, reports UNB.
The committee leaders made the call in a statement issued to mark the 43rd anniversary of the Farakka Long March organised by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani.
On May 16, 1976, Maulana Bhashani led the long march to protest the drying up of the Ganges/Padma in Bangladesh as a consequence of water diversion and its massive adverse environmental impacts.
In the joint statement, the committee leaders said the long march has been justified as the Indian state of Bihar has called for doing away with the Farakka Barrage.
The statement also said Indian water experts started raising voices that structures on rivers, including Cauvery, Sabarmati and Ganges, led to their drying up and were unsustainable. Rivers can remain alive only if they continue to flow from their points of origin to the sea, the leaders said.
Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani led the historic long march towards the Farakka Barrage and crossed more than 100 kilometres on foot. The long march was the first popular protest against diversion of the Ganges demanding a rightful share of the water flowing through the river.
The signatories to the statement are New York-based International Farakka Committee Chairman Atiqur Rahman Salu, its Secretary General Sayed Tipu Sultan, Bangladesh chapter President Prof Jasim Uddin Ahmad, Senior Vice-president Dr SI Khan, General Secretary Syed Irfanul Bari and oordinator Mostafa Kamal Majumder.
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