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    HomeNewsWater Ripples Beyond Borders: India-Bangladesh Teesta River Dispute

    Water Ripples Beyond Borders: India-Bangladesh Teesta River Dispute

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    The Teesta River dispute has long been a thorn in the side of India-Bangladesh relations, serving as a testament to the intricate interplay between geopolitics, environmental concerns, and the shared destinies of nations.

    India and Bangladesh have been embroiled in a dispute over the sharing of water from the Teesta River.

    The Teesta River is a crucial waterway for both countries, serving as a key source for irrigation, fisheries, and drinking water.

    Originating in the Himalayas and passing through Sikkim and West Bengal before joining the Brahmaputra in Assam and the Jamuna in Bangladesh, the Teesta River is jointly utilized by India and Bangladesh.

    This issue stands out as one of the most contentious points between the otherwise friendly neighboring nations. Bangladesh had aspired to reach a fair water-sharing agreement with India for the Teesta River, akin to the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996, but these efforts did not yield any results.

    The primary issue of contention between India and Bangladesh revolves around the flow of the Teesta River into Bangladesh during the dry season.

    The Teesta River spans a total length of 414 km, with approximately 151 km traversing through Sikkim, around 142 km running through West Bengal, and the remaining 121 km flowing through Bangladesh.

    This river, which drains approximately 2,800 square kilometers of Bangladesh and courses through the floodplains of Sikkim, significantly affects the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of individuals.

    An agreement for a fair allocation was proposed in 1983; however, challenges arose in its implementation. Bangladesh is advocating for a 50% share of the water supply from December to March, whereas India is pushing for a 55% allocation.

    The river, despite suffering from diminished flow due to over-extraction of groundwater, also boasts potential for an estimated 84GW of hydroelectric power.

    In 1998, Bangladesh commenced the construction of the “Teesta Barrage” irrigation project.

    A provisional agreement established in 2011 for a 15-year period allocated 42.5% of the Teesta River’s water to India and 37.5% to Bangladesh.

    However, the agreement faced opposition from West Bengal, leading to its stalling and eventual non-signing.

    As per the Indian Constitution, water falls under the jurisdiction of individual states, and consent from all involved parties is necessary for the agreement to be enforced.

    Despite a meeting between the Indian and Bangladeshi ministers of external affairs in 2019, they were still unable to reach a consensus on a water-sharing deal.

    Relevant articles:
    Teesta River Dispute Between India and Bangladesh, testbook.com
    India- Bangladesh Water sharing Disputes, Academia.edu

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