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India’s river-linking project is “a disaster in waiting”

Dear Editor:
In his article entitled “BE VERY AFRAID: River-linking project is a disaster in waiting” Indian writer Mr. Manu Balachandran in 2015 quoted Indian experts who opined that it will cause disaster in India. Mr. Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, was quoted as saying: “There is no scientific basis for this. How do you conclude that river-linking project will be good? There is no scientific basis to say that”. 
Here I wish to recall an excellent article by Mr A.M.K.Chowdhury published in the weekly Holiday on August 22, 2014 (India’s river-linking project will ruin Bangladesh’s economy”)
Bangladesh and India are co-riparian countries where there are 54 common rivers. Both the countries are in dispute over sharing of the Ganges water and the Teesta water. India’s mega river linking project is aimed at diverting water of some of the common rivers to Indian region by linking them with canals. Prof. Ainun Nishat, hydrologists and former member of the Joint Rivers Commission, said “Definitely it will reduce the water flow if they divert water from our common rivers.”
India cannot do it unilaterally; if it dos then it will be illegal. There are international rules, laws, conventions and bilateral treaties on the regulation of the use of the water of international rivers and on the protection of world environment, which can provide adequate weapons to fight India’s plan. Upper riparian cannot interfere with the flow of the river in a way which is substantially damaging to the interests of the lower riparian. (see Law and our Rights, Daily Star dated August 04, 2015)
It will ruin the Bangladesh’s agriculture, economy and environment. A news report said Bangladeshi river experts and environmentalists expressed concern over India’s latest move to implement the controversial river linking project that will connect trans-boundary rivrs and divert water to southern Indian states. They said, if the project is implemented, it will diminish the water flow in Bangladesh’s rivers like the Teesta, the Jamuna and the Padma and ruin the country’s agriculture, economy and environment.
Indian media published reports, signalling Indian government’s intent to go ahead with a grand plan of linking rivers across the country connecting Teesta – Ganga – Manas – Sankosh covering three Indian states – West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.
Though Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers, the upstream India is yet to communicate the matter with downstream Bangladesh . Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said India has not communicated to Bangladesh as yet. Indian water resources minister Sanwar Lal Jat said his ministry would soon be taking up the planning of a very important link, Manas-Sankosh- Teesta – Ganga, in consultation with the governments of Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.”
India helped us during the War of Liberation in 1971 and we always acknowledge it. We hope as a neighbouring country India must not do anything depriving Bangladesh of her lawful right in sharing water of common rivers. We expect good neighbourly behaviour from India.
Shafiq Adnan Nabil
Neelkhet, Dhaka

Comment

Dear Editor:
In his article entitled “BE VERY AFRAID: River-linking project is a disaster in waiting” Indian writer Mr. Manu Balachandran in 2015 quoted Indian experts who opined that it will cause disaster in India. Mr. Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, was quoted as saying: “There is no scientific basis for this. How do you conclude that river-linking project will be good? There is no scientific basis to say that”. 
Here I wish to recall an excellent article by Mr A.M.K.Chowdhury published in the weekly Holiday on August 22, 2014 (India’s river-linking project will ruin Bangladesh’s economy”)
Bangladesh and India are co-riparian countries where there are 54 common rivers. Both the countries are in dispute over sharing of the Ganges water and the Teesta water. India’s mega river linking project is aimed at diverting water of some of the common rivers to Indian region by linking them with canals. Prof. Ainun Nishat, hydrologists and former member of the Joint Rivers Commission, said “Definitely it will reduce the water flow if they divert water from our common rivers.”
India cannot do it unilaterally; if it dos then it will be illegal. There are international rules, laws, conventions and bilateral treaties on the regulation of the use of the water of international rivers and on the protection of world environment, which can provide adequate weapons to fight India’s plan. Upper riparian cannot interfere with the flow of the river in a way which is substantially damaging to the interests of the lower riparian. (see Law and our Rights, Daily Star dated August 04, 2015)
It will ruin the Bangladesh’s agriculture, economy and environment. A news report said Bangladeshi river experts and environmentalists expressed concern over India’s latest move to implement the controversial river linking project that will connect trans-boundary rivrs and divert water to southern Indian states. They said, if the project is implemented, it will diminish the water flow in Bangladesh’s rivers like the Teesta, the Jamuna and the Padma and ruin the country’s agriculture, economy and environment.
Indian media published reports, signalling Indian government’s intent to go ahead with a grand plan of linking rivers across the country connecting Teesta – Ganga – Manas – Sankosh covering three Indian states – West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.
Though Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers, the upstream India is yet to communicate the matter with downstream Bangladesh . Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said India has not communicated to Bangladesh as yet. Indian water resources minister Sanwar Lal Jat said his ministry would soon be taking up the planning of a very important link, Manas-Sankosh- Teesta – Ganga, in consultation with the governments of Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.”
India helped us during the War of Liberation in 1971 and we always acknowledge it. We hope as a neighbouring country India must not do anything depriving Bangladesh of her lawful right in sharing water of common rivers. We expect good neighbourly behaviour from India.
Shafiq Adnan Nabil
Neelkhet, Dhaka

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Comparing two unwise elected leaders

Dear Editor:
Pre-war Germany (late 1930s) and today’s post regional-war USA; has leadership similarities: and these are:
1. Both use racism as the key issue of their politics.
2, One perpetuated mass deportations; the other racially discriminates immigrants and visitors.
At a rally in December 2015 in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Trump defended his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” by comparing it with former president Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to inter Japanese 
Americans during the Second World War. (c.ca/news/)
3. Both stated that they would make their country “great”.
4. One was a proven anti-Jew fascist; the other preaches anti-Muslim fascism.
5. One blamed Jews for his country’s problems; the other blames immigrants for USA’s problems.
Is this an indication that in future USA will lead the world on to another horrifying conflict? One hopes not; but if the US leader does not sober down to realities, the future for all peaceful people will be in peril.
A Realist

Comment

Dear Editor:
Pre-war Germany (late 1930s) and today’s post regional-war USA; has leadership similarities: and these are:
1. Both use racism as the key issue of their politics.
2, One perpetuated mass deportations; the other racially discriminates immigrants and visitors.
At a rally in December 2015 in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Trump defended his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” by comparing it with former president Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to inter Japanese 
Americans during the Second World War. (c.ca/news/)
3. Both stated that they would make their country “great”.
4. One was a proven anti-Jew fascist; the other preaches anti-Muslim fascism.
5. One blamed Jews for his country’s problems; the other blames immigrants for USA’s problems.
Is this an indication that in future USA will lead the world on to another horrifying conflict? One hopes not; but if the US leader does not sober down to realities, the future for all peaceful people will be in peril.
A Realist

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