Teesta water crisis haunts northern people

Rangpur residents hope Teesta Treaty will be signed soon

Published : 05 Sep 2022 09:57 PM

The increase in Teesta river water is a matter of concern. But the Teesta agreement has not been implemented even after fifty years. Shatordh Manchur Ali, a resident of Binbina Char of Kolkond Union of Gangachra Upazila of Rangpur, expressed his despair stating this. Millions of people across the Teesta River, who have been affected by floods, droughts and erosion throughout the year, have become frustrated. But this time, the people across the river are hoping for a solution to the Teesta problem during the Prime Minister's visit to India.

The 400 km long torrential river Teesta passes through Sikkim and Darjeeling-Jalpaiguri in the northern part of West Bengal, passes through Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Chilmari of Kurigram in Bangladesh, crosses 124 km and joins the Brahmaputra river. Teesta is now the misery of the people of this region due to not getting their fair share of water.

On the surface, it can be seen that the human settlements and civilizations of Rangpur region, around which the river has been built for thousands of years, the eternal Teesta is constantly dying in the dry season. There is no trickle of water flowing across the river. As much as the Himalayan snow melts and the rains increase the Teesta water, it is now held in the hands of India. Teesta's chars wakes up during winter and summer. Biodiversity is under threat due to lack of water in river in the lower areas.

Thousands of families who built their homes and lives around this river, are now completely jobless due to this tragic fate of the Teesta River. Due to non-availability of water in the Teesta alone, about 33 small and big rivers including Dharla, Ghaghat, Yamuneshwari, Akhira, Dudhkumar, Buri Tinta and other tributaries of the region have been filled up. Dulal Mia, a resident of Jairamojha Char in Gangachra Upazila of Rangpur, said that earlier they used to grow various crops including wheat, maize, groundnut, potato in Teesta's pasture. The cost of production would have been lower due to river water irrigation facilities. But due to the drying up of the Teesta for several years, they are in trouble with farming. Due to lack of water, hundreds of small and big Ghats of Teesta have been closed and there has been a serious deadlock in the maritime communication.

 Abdus Samad, Mujibar Ghatial, residents of Jairamojha area, are fishermen by profession. They do not have their own land. They said that there is no water in the river during the dry season so fish are not available. At that time they have to be unemployed. So they are now forced to change profession. Running in search of work in different districts of the country. And those farming families are suffering due to lack of timely water even though they are cultivating different crops.

On the other hand, due to the lack of depth during the monsoon season, floods occur in Teesta due to overflowing of water. The Teesta washed away the houses and houses in front of the eyes of sufferers. But due to lack of water in the river during the dry season, it has a negative impact in various areas. Especially in the riverside areas, along with the irrigation crisis, the water level has gone down, so water is not readily available in tubewells or earthen wells. As a result, there is a shortage of clean drinking water in the pastures during this period. 

Abdullah Al Hadi, chairman of Tistapar's Gangachra Lottery Union Parishad, said that the people across the river have been facing various problems due to the poor condition of Teesta for several years. He said that anglers have become unemployed due to lack of water in the river for half of the year. Farmers have been suffering losses for years due to lack of water due to lack of irrigation despite cultivating various crops including potatoes in grazing lands. Due to the closure of the boat terminals, boatmen are also in trouble. Plants are dying as water levels drop. Almost deserts have been created throughout the grasslands. The water is not rising properly in the tube or the earthen well. There is also a shortage of clean water.

Ruhul Amin, Chairman of Gangachara Upazila Parishad of Rangpur, the most affected area of Teesta, said that the solution of the Teesta river water contract, which has become a desert during the monsoon and becomes a desert in the dry season, is very necessary. During the dry season, the Teesta River ruled many farmers on the banks would have got irrigation facilities.

It would increase the production of various crops as well as reduce the production cost of the farmers. In addition, the tribal people did not have to be calm during the floods. This time the Prime Minister's visit to India will solve the Teesta problem - the people across the river are holding their chests.