Monday, July 6, 2020

Opening barrage in India worsening flood situation in Bangladesh

FOR the third time in 15 days, the River Teesta overflowed its danger mark in Lalmonirhat, after India opened all 54 gates at Gazaldoba Barrage on Saturday morning, worsening the flood situation in the north. Parts of the northern region have been underwater for eight days as the Dharla and the Jamuna rivers flowed above the danger marks at several places at Kurigram, Gaibandha, and Jamalpur. The River Padma flowed above the danger level at three points as flood situation in central districts worsened as well. The government has no preparedness to protect people, distribution of relief, or diplomatic protest against India for making the plights.  
After India opened barrage gates, 22,200 cusec water entered Bangladesh through the Teesta, which means flowing of more than 6 lakh liters of water every second. It is typical of India to open Gazaldoba Barrage gates during monsoon to release waters, often without warning Bangladesh. It takes about two and a half hours for waters released from the Gazaldoba Barrage to hit Bangladesh. The Teesta, which remains dry for four months between October and January because of India withdrawing all the waters, is hardly in any shape to handle such a sudden rise in water pressure with its sand-silted river bed.
Rivers like Teesta are likely to cause severe erosion for when it gets suddenly swelled it could course through any area for it lacks a proper flowing channel. The flood-affected people in the area suffered because they have very little to eat. Vast cropland was also destroyed by the floods that began on June 27. It is predicted that the floods will intensify further and linger for the next three weeks because of heavy rains in the upstream.
Floods during monsoon are very common in Bangladesh for it drains almost a total of 1.7 million square kilometers in Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna basins spanning India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Teesta Water agreement with India is a long-hyped deal that can only ensure an equal share of water and natural flow resulting in better water management for Bangladesh to avoid floods. Our government claims many successes, but unfortunately a success still remains elusive to deal with our most friendly country India over a fair share of Teesta water for the sake of life and livelihood of crores of people.