Water row brews, this time over Farakka: report

FIVE months after she pulled out of the Dhaka visit burying all possibilities of PM Manmohan Singh signing the proposed Teesta agreement, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has hit out at the Centre yet again over sharing of water between India and Bangladesh. This time, however, her grouse is over the existing Farakka water treaty. The Times of India reports.

In a letter to the PM, the Bengal chief minister has pointed out that the Centre’s apathy in repairing two damaged sluice gates of the Farakka Barrage has led to release of Ganga water to Bangladesh much above what the neighbour is entitled to during dry season.

Mamata held that a total 82,801 cusecs of water has been draining out of Farakka because of the damaged sluice gates, when the Murshidabad district administration’s report points out that Bangladesh is only supposed to get 35,000 cusecs as per the Ganga water-sharing pact signed with Bangladesh in 1996. Late chief minister Jyoti Basu had played an important role in the signing of that accord.

The CM is also miffed over the Centre’s silence on the damage. Officials said the Union water resources ministry had not even intimated the state about the problem. It learnt of the matter following reports that the NTPC power plant at Farakka can’t function at its optimum because of inadequate water.

The CM’s letter comes two days before Union water resources minister Pawan Bansal is scheduled to share the dais with the CM during the inauguration of a Rs 653-crore irrigation project in East Midnapore.

While Bansal said on Wednesday that the repair work will be completed by February 22, state irrigation minister Manas Bhunia said it would take the entire month.


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