Water no pol issue, but question of survival: Roundtable told

Water no pol issue, but question of survival: Roundtable told

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Prof. Emajuddin Ahmed, former vice chancellor of Dhaka University on Saturday called for dealing with the problem of common rivers by taking lessons from Europe and East Asia where these are treated as common properties.
Addressing a roundtable on ‘international water policy and the rivers of Bangladesh’ organised by the Khalefat Majlis at the National Press Club he said that the rivers originating from the Himalayas should be managed multilaterally under the Saarc framework.
Nazrul Islam Khan, member standing committee of the Bnp was the main speaker at the roundtable which was also addressed by the chairman of Bangladesh Kalian Party Man Gen Syed Muhammad Ibrahim, editor of GreenWatch Dhaka, Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Prof. Abdul Latif Masum former vice chancellor of Patuakhali University, Syed Mujibur Rahman, Nayebe Amir and Dr. Ahmed Abdul Quader, general secretary of the party among others. The Ameer of Khalafat Majlis, Moulana Muhammad Ishaque was in the chair.Prof Emajuddin Ahmed underlined the need for united efforts of some young experts to write on and present the case of management of common rivers properly to raise awareness nationally as well as intrnationally. He said that the institutional set of the Saarc was ideally suited to deal with the issue by calling in the World Bank or the United Nations to mediate.
Nazrul Islam Khan said that water was not a question of the Bnp or the AL by of the whole nation and its survival. If all rivers run dry during the dry season because of India’s water interlinking project, Bangladesh would turn into a saline barren and would not be able to offer its 17 crore people livelihood.
Khan said when speaking about water the people speak about Bangladesh’s concerns, not against any other country. The water resources of the common rivers should be harnessed keeping in view the welfare of all. For this national unity was most needed to put forward the dangers facing Bangladesh because of diversion of water through interlinking.
Kalyan Party chairman, Gen SM Ibrahim said water flow cannot be divided into political lines. If there is no water in the rivers farmers and people of all strata of the society irrespective of their political affiliations will be affected. There should therefore be a national unity one threats posed by the diversion of water from upstream by depriving rivers in Bangladesh of flow during the dry season.
In his keynote paper Md. Mahbub Morshed, assistant prof. of geography and environmental science, Chittagong University dwelt on the water policy prescribed in various international protocols and conventions and that upper riparian countries cannot establish structures on common rivers without prior consent of lower riparian countries and cannot cause significant harm to the latter. But nothing was being followed in respect of the common rivers of Bangladesh which carry 80 percent of water from transboundary areas of their basins. He called for national unity to protect the rivers which have built the Bangladesh delta.
Mostafa Kamal Majumder thanked the keynote writer and said international protocols and conventions on environent have further enriched laws and policies relating to rivers and their water. Experts now call for ensuring ecological flows of rivers, first to keep those alive before sharing their benefits. They also call for integrated basinwide management of rivers by meeting the needs of the rivers themselves, those of the fishes and other aquatic plants and species, navigation, need for driking water, industry, plant resources and biodiversity. He thanked the organisers for circulating a keynote paper which combined with similar papers prepared by other water experts and activisgts could for a huge informative datebase for the people as well as policy makers.
The roundtable was also addressed by Dr. Mostafizur Rahman Faisal, Adv. Jahangir Hissain and Moulana Ahmed Ali Kasemi – GreenWatch Report

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