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GANGA WATER TREATY RENEWAL AND WEST BENGAL’S STANCE



  Jun 27, 2024

GANGA WATER TREATY RENEWAL AND WEST BENGAL’S STANCE



Key Points Overview

What is the Ganga Water Sharing Treaty?

The 1996 Ganga Water Sharing Treaty is an agreement between India and Bangladesh to share the waters of the Ganga River at the Farakka Barrage in West Bengal for 30 years. The treaty expires in 2026 and can be renewed by mutual consent.

Why is West Bengal concerned about the treaty renewal?

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed strong reservations about the renewal discussions, citing the need for state consultation. She argues that the current treaty has led to floods, siltation, and erosion in Bengal, impacting the state’s infrastructure and agriculture.

What are the specific issues raised by West Bengal?

1. Consultation: The state government was not consulted in the renewal discussions despite being a major stakeholder.

2. Erosion and Floods: Continuous erosion along the Ganga belt, particularly in Murshidabad, Malda, and Nadia districts, is attributed to the treaty’s implementation.

3. Previous Dues: Outstanding dues related to the previous treaty’s agreements, such as dredging of the Ganga, have not been cleared.

What historical actions have been taken by West Bengal regarding water-sharing issues?

In 2011, Mamata Banerjee opposed the Teesta water-sharing deal with Bangladesh, arguing it would adversely affect North Bengal. She has consistently highlighted the need for protecting Bengal’s interests in any water-sharing agreements.

What are the broader implications of the treaty for other states?

States like Bihar have also blamed the treaty for their flood and erosion issues. In 2016, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded the removal of the Farakka Barrage, citing its drawbacks and contribution to severe flooding in the state.

What is the next step in the treaty renewal process?

Technical talks are set to begin for the renewal of the Ganga Water Sharing Treaty. A technical team will visit Bangladesh to discuss the management of Teesta River waters, aiming for a comprehensive approach to water resource management between the two countries.

Conclusion

The renewal of the Ganga Water Sharing Treaty raises significant concerns for West Bengal, particularly regarding state consultation and the treaty’s impact on erosion and flooding. Addressing these issues requires collaborative efforts and careful consideration of all stakeholders’ interests.




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