The International Farakka Committee on Saturday demanded that the government should implement the Teesta project for mitigating flood and river erosion as well as to ensure the overall socio-economic development of the people of Bangladesh’s north-western region. 

In the wet season, the entire flow of the River Teesta is released through the sluice gates of the Gajoldoba Barrage in India causing devastating floods and bank erosions every year as the river cannot carry the excess load of water due to lack of depth, the IFC said.

Four waves of flood this year have pauperised the people living on its two banks, it said.

On the other hand, the Teesta in Bangladesh has practically turned into a dead river because of excessive siltation for being deprived of its natural flow for decades due to unilateral withdrawal of water by India, the IFC said.

The absence of flow in the river causes damage to the environment and sufferings to life of the people.

‘It is not wise to continue to remain idle waiting for release of water as the process of desertification is getting from bad to worse in the north-western region of Bangladesh,’ the IFC said.

The Teesta project is no substitute for ensuring the natural flow of the river to keep it alive, yet the move to mitigate the annual flood and bank erosion damages and ensure improvement of the quality of life of the people of the region through integrated development activities are expected to meet with success, it said.

IFC New York chairman Atiqur Rahman Salu and secretary general Sayed Tipu Sultan, IFC Bangladesh president Prof Jasim Uddin Ahmad and senior vice-president SI Khan and IFC coordinator Mostafa Kamal Majumder signed the statement.

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