Delhi, Dhaka discuss sharing river water

India and Bangladesh have finalised the text of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on interim water sharing of Kushiyara river, the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti said on Thursday.

The text was finalised during the 38th meeting of the ministerial-level Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) of India and Bangladesh, held in Delhi on Thursday, the ministry stated.

The two sides were led by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and his Bangladesh counterpart, Zaheed Farooque.

In a statement, the ministry said, “Discussions…were held on a number of ongoing bilateral issues of mutual interest, including water-sharing of common rivers, sharing of flood data, addressing river pollution, conducting joint studies on sedimentation management, river bank protection works, etc.”

The ministry stated that the two sides “finalised the text of MoU on Interim Water Sharing of Kushiyara river (and) welcomed finalisation of the design and location of water intake point on Feni river to meet drinking water needs of Sabroom town in Tripura as per the October 2019 India-Bangladesh MoU…”

According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, the JRC meeting assumes significance since it was held after a “long gap” of 12 years, although technical interactions under the framework of JRC have continued in the interim.

The ministry said India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers, of which seven have been identified earlier for developing the framework of water-sharing agreements on priority. During Thursday’s meeting, the neighbours agreed to include eight more rivers for data exchange, it stated.

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In a statement, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The JRC meeting, held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, discussed the whole gamut of issues related to common rivers between the two countries, especially the Ganges, Teesta, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla, Dudhkumar and Kushiyara. Apart from this, exchange of flood-related data and information, riverbank protection works, common basin management, and also Indian river interlinking project were discussed in detail.”

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