Call for consensus to resolve trans-boundary water crisis

Speakers at a discussion yesterday said the country’s water security should be ensured and trans-boundary water problems be resolved in cooperation with the neighbouring countries.

A national unity should be built regarding water security. The government must reach a national consensus to resolve the water problems, they added. They also urged all to be united and lodge a war of logic against the proposed dam at Tipaimukh which would bring disaster to the country and to the people of India as well.

The speakers said this at the discussion on ‘Water security: Conflict or cooperation’ jointly organised by Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced World (GLOBE) and Coastal Area Resources Development and Management (CADMA) at the National Press Club in the city.

Dhaka University Prof Asif Nazrul presented a keynote paper at the programme moderated by CADMA Adviser Hasna J Moudud. Former water resources minister and Awami League presidium member Abdur Razzak said, “We have to reach a consensus that the water problems could be resolved in consultation with our neighbouring countries.”

The AL leaders suggested that the country could resolve water problems by holding discussions with India, Nepal and Bhutan. He urged all parties to reach a consensus over the issues.

Razzak said, “If the Ganges Barrage was built, we could utilise the water we get from the Padma,” adding, “We need cooperation from West Bengal and they are ready to cooperate us as they would also face the same problems.”

BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said an all-party taskforce could be formed after holding informal talks with the political parties in this regard.

He said the people of the two countries, civil society members and experts can hold talks about the disasters that they are likely to face if the Tipaimukh dam is built.

National Press Club President Shawkat Mahmud said the water diversion policy of India is harming the Bangla-speaking people both in India and Bangladesh. He hoped that the people of the two Bengals would launch movements against the Indian water diversion policy.

The speakers further said the government could send an expert delegation to visit Tipaimukh at the invitation of the Indian foreign secretary. The meeting was also addressed by Prof Zakir Hossain, Prof MA Matin and Associate Prof Ataur Rahman.

Source: The Daily Star, 01 April 2009


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