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Hydrological assessment needed to resolve Teesta water sharing issue: Ainun Nishat

January 22, 2022 00:00:00

Dr. Ainun Nishat has said Bangladesh and India should sit for annual hydrological assessment to resolve the issue of water allocation of the Teesta River, reports UNB.

"The basin of the River Teesta is confined between India and Bangladesh. It has to be solved by both countries," said Professor Emeritus, and advisor of Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, BRAC University.

He also stated that India unilaterally is withdrawing water from the Teesta which is not acceptable ethically and also not acceptable under any international law, even under Indian law.

The 1958 law on trans-boundary water use or interstate water use also do not support this sort of diversion of water, said the expert.

Dr Nishat was speaking as the chair at the three-day virtual 7th International Water Conference 2022 titled "Teesta River Basin: Overcoming the Challenges."

The three-day conference organised by ActionAid Bangladesh began on Thursday.

Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed said the river is no longer a river and people now can literally walk across it in dry season.

"Local people of India are also flagging issue that the dams on Teesta are posing threat to the biodiversity and the livelihood of thousands of people including violation of indigenous rights to land," said Mr Ahmed, professor at Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, in his keynote presentation.

The conference will continue until today (Saturday). The first day of the conference focused on the thematic issue- History, Morphology and Spatiotemporal Changes of Teesta and Surrounding Rivers.

The purpose of this year's conference is to draw the attention of the international community, and national level policymakers through the collection and discussion of the data on the morphology, ethnographic issues and territorial disputes of the Teesta River in order to find a solution to this problem.

The three-day conference will serve as a major platform for public-private authorities, NGOs, donor agencies, project implementing agencies, civil society, academics, water experts, environmentalists, and grassroots people to come together and discuss the issue of Teesta River.

Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said ActionAid Bangladesh believes in people's empowerment.

"We focus on water democracy, innovation and established connections between the scientific body, grassroots, and development practitioners," she said.

Farah said Teesta is a major source of water for agriculture, fishing, and food system. "Water and river governance, regional disputes, climate change and extreme climate crisis are consecutively impacting people's rights. Therefore, it is crucial to protect the river through sustainable and long-term solutions."

Barrister Manzoor Hasan OBE, Chair of the Executive Board of ActionAid International Bangladesh Society and Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University said, "Water sharing of Teesta River is an important bilateral issue. Water commons means that water is no one's property. Provision of water is fundamental of human rights. It is the basis for all of us to survive in this world."

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