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Thursday, December 04, 2003
Withdrawal of water from common rivers Timely steps taken against Indian move

Withdrawal of water from common rivers Timely steps taken against Indian move
By BSS, Dhaka
Nov 19, 2003, 01:43

Water Resources Minister Hafiz Uddin, Bir Bikram, on Tuesday told the Jatiya Sangsad that the government had taken appropriate steps in time against Indian move to withdraw waters from trans-boundary common rivers.

Replying to a question from Shah Mohammad Ruhul Quddus of Khulna-6, Hafizuddin said the government had lodged formal protest on August 13 this year against the proposed Indian mega- project for river inter-linking.

Under the proposed project, the Indian government is out to unilaterally withdraw and divert the waters of the international rivers of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Teesta and other cross- border common rivers.

Besides, the minister said, by this time a task force has been formed for observation, monitoring and evaluation of the project as well as for assisting the government in this regard. The government has been evaluating the report of the task force being submitted from time to time.
The minister further informed the JS that this crucial issue was raised and discussed in the 35th meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint River Commission held in September last.

Hafijuddin said in the meeting, Bangladesh conveyed its deep concern about this river-linking project of India to the Indian side. Bangladesh also strongly demanded that Indian authorities refrain from implementation of the project till a consensus is reached between the two countries through mutual understanding and negotiations, he added.

He informed the house that owing to the firm stand of Bangladesh the JRC agreed to include this issue in the agenda of the commission. As a result, the door has opened to resume further discussions on the issue in the next meeting of the JRC.

The minister categorically said that through including this issue in the agenda of the JRC meeting, it was accepted as an international issue, not merely a bilateral matter.

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