BNP vice chairman Major (Retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed yesterday expressed his optimism that the next government of India led by Narendra Modi would not interfere in the internal politics of Bangladesh like the outgoing Congress government.
“We do hope that those who are coming to power in India will not interfere in the international politics of Bangladesh like Congress led government,” he made the observation while addressing a roundtable on “Bangladesh-India Water Disputes” at the National Press Club.The BNP leader said the Congress government had desperately lent its support to Awami League during the January 5 general elections as ruling Awami League has a close relation with the Congress.
Terming the Hasina led present government undemocratic one, Hafiz said movement would be launched this year to restore democracy.
Hafiz said if BNP voted to power the Bangladesh’s demand would be realised by keeping good relations with India.
The BNP leader said the democracy in two countries is not same as the polls in India were held in a democratic manner and January 5 voter less elections were held amid violence. “The AL has buried the democracy in the country,” he added.
He hoped that Bangladesh would get its fair share of waters in the common rivers including Teesta river as no hostility is seen in India foreign policy.
South Asian Youth Peace and Progress Society organised the roundtable which was also addressed by Prof. Dilara Chowdhury of Dhaka University, Tauhidul Anwar Khan, former member of the Joint Rivers Commission, eminent journalist Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, and Barrister Fatima Anwar. Mostafa Kamal Majumder, editor, GreenWatch Dhaka presented the keynote paper.
Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, expressed his skepticism at to whether the dispute over the Teesta could be resolved soon after the new government takes over in New Delhi. He said the people of Bangladesh would immensely benefit from non-construction of the proposed Tipaimukh Dam which remains stalled at the recommendation ofthe Forest Advisory Committee of New Delhi.
Prof. Dilara Chowdhury said that water of rivers was a matter of right of the people of Bangladesh and the government of Bangladesh should pursue the same.
Tauhidul Anwar Khan said that the rivers created Bangladesh and sustain the same. Banglasdesh cannot survide if the flows of the rivers was disturbed. He said since water of all eastern Himayan rivers flowed through Bangladesh the environment and ecosystem here dependended on 100 percent flow. Any amount of water that is diverted from the rivers during the lean season is a loss to the fragile environment of this land of rivers.
The water expert said those who did not understand the services rendered by the rivers often wrongly claimed that water flowing into the sea go waste. Such water beat salinity and pretect the river ecosystem of Bangladesh. The river systems need 200,000 cusecs of flow to maintain the equilibrium but the present lean season flow was much less due to water diversion at upstream.
Barrister Fatima Anwar underscored the need for a foreign policy based on respect for each other’s sovereignty to secure water rights.
Mostafa Kamal Majumder in his paper dwelt on the problem of the rivers flowing through Bangladesh and said the target should be to protect the rivers to have their services like water for different uses. Services of the rivers would not be available if they do not remian alive and do not flow from their origins to the sea. Majumder underscored the need for people to people exchanges for creating pressure by river-dependent communities in Bangladesh and other countries and compel their governments to keep the rivers alive instead of killing those through diversion of water to other basins.– Staff Reporter