It is encouraging to hear one of India’s own chief ministers slam the Farakka Dam.
Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar has recently criticised the construction of the barrage, which has been situated across the Ganges River for over 40 years.
Nitish Kumar has said that the damages far outweigh the benefits, and rightly so.
The construction of the barrage is harmful for both nations. A writ petition filed by various Indians has claimed that the damages caused by the Farakka Barrage come to around Rs3,226 crore annually via increasing water levels and salinity.
In Bangladesh, a country so reliant on agriculture, the Farakka Barrage’s destructive effect on its soil is all too real a problem. The drying up of some of its water bodies, coupled with the rise of salinity causes irreparable damage to farmers and their livelihoods.
Though the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, which provides Bangladesh with 35,000 cusec of water in alternate three 10-day-periods, has helped the situation somewhat, it is not enough. This is on top of the fact that the promised amount of water is oftentimes not provided during lean periods.
Our country continues to suffer as a result of its continued existence and it is imperative that a more beneficial solution is brought on, one that benefits both sides.
It further reiterates the need for continued co-operation between both parties. We hope that Nitish Kumar’s comments and the petition are the first of many from the Indian side which hasten the progress towards a more viable solution.