Teesta river's water level has surged 41 cm above the danger mark in Kurigram district, while water levels of Brahmaputra, Dudhkumar, and Dharla rivers are also on the rise. The escalating water levels have instilled fears of potential flooding among the residents living along the riverbanks. Kurigram Water Development Board has forecast short-term flooding. Teesta's water level crosses danger mark, triggers flooding in Lalmonirhat According to the district’s Water Development Board, Brahmaputra river's water level is currently 72 cm below the danger mark at the Nunkhawa point, 58 cm below the limit at the Chilmari point, and Dharla river's water level is 97 cm below the danger limit at the Kurigram Sadar point. However, at Kaunia Point, Teesta river's water is surging 41 cm above the danger level. Low-lying areas including Begumganj, Nayarhat, and Saheber Alga in the Ulipur upazila of the district have already been inundated due to the increased water levels. Irrespective of whether the water level of Teesta river rises or decreases, erosion stays persistent and the residents of the riverside areas run from rising waters all year round. Teesta erosion worsens in Kurigram; 50 homes swept away Md. Noor Alam, a resident of the Goraipia area near Teesta river, expressed his concerns about the rising water levels over the past few days, particularly for the paddy fields. “Whether the water of the Teesta river rises or recedes, river erosion persists, and the year-round struggles of the Teesta Par community go unnoticed,” he lamented. Surman Ali from Khitab Khan village echoed the same and expressed distress over the continuous rain and rising water levels. “The incessant rainfall coupled with the rising Teesta water has submerged our lives again, along with our cattles,” he said. Abdullah Al Mamun, executive engineer of the Water Development Board, attributed the rising river water to heavy rainfall in India’s Assam and Arunachal. Teesta flowing 20cm above danger level in Lalmonirhat, several hundred families stranded He said that the onrush of hill water and heavy rainfall in the region have caused the Teesta river's water level to surpass the danger level. He also said that Brahmaputra river's water might reach the danger mark in the coming days. While the forecast predicts short-term floods in certain areas of the district, including some unions of Ulipur and Chilmari upazilas, Mamun said that despite the water crossing danger levels, a major flood event is not likely to occur. Kurigram’s Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Saidul Arif said that comprehensive preparations have been undertaken to manage potential flood situations. All necessary arrangements, including food aid, rescue boats, and shelters, have been organized to ensure residents’ safety, he added.
Water in the Teesta river may cross the danger level at Dalia point over 24 hours, causing a short-term flood in the low-lying areas of Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari districts. Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), in its regular bulletin, said the Brahmaputra-Jamuna and the Ganges-Padma rivers are in a rising trend, which may continue over 48 hours and water in the Dhalai river may cross danger level at Kamalganj point for a short period over 24 hours, starting from 9 am on today (July 05, 2023). All gates of Teesta Barrage opened due to increase in water level Besides, major rivers in the northeastern region of the country are in a falling trend except Khowai, Someswari and Dhalai, which may continue over 48 hours, the bulletin said. Flood submerges 10 villages in Sunamganj, rain continues The ongoing flood situation in Sunamganj and Netrokona districts may remain unchanged in 24 hours, it said. Heavy rains may trigger short-term flood in Sylhet, Sunamganj
BNP standing committee, the highest policymaking body of the party, has voiced deep concern over the reported move by the West Bengal government of India to dig two more canals under the Teesta Barrage Project to unilaterally withdraw more water from the common river. “The (standing committee) meeting felt that the plan to dig two more canals without signing an agreement on the distribution of Teesta River water with Bangladesh is an attempt to deprive Bangladesh (of its fair share of water from the common river),” said a BNP press release on Tuesday. BNP issued the press release, signed by its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, on the outcome of a meeting of the party’s standing committee’s virtual meeting held on Monday. The BNP policymakers bemoaned that the people of Bangladesh are being deprived of their fair share of water from the Teesta River because of the current Awami League government’s ‘knee-jerk’ foreign policy and its failure to take any effective initiative for signing water sharing agreement. They urged the government to take immediate steps to resolve the Teesta River water-sharing problem with India. According to a report by Indian news outlet The Telegraph, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal on Friday took possession of about 1,000 acres of land to dig two more canals under the Teesta Barrage Project to channelise water for irrigation. As per the plan of the West Bengal government, a 32km-long canal to draw water from the Teesta and the Jaldhaka will be dug till Changrabandha of Cooch Behar district while another 15-km long canal will be built on the left bank of the Teesta to benefit around one lakh farmers. The Teesta Barrage project was launched by India in 1975 with a plan to irrigate 9.22 lakh hectares of agricultural land in north Bengal by channelising water from the Teesta River through canals on either bank of the river. Environment and water experts in Bangladesh say this project has been badly affecting agriculture, ecosystem, and the life of the people of the country’s northern region as the part of the Teesta River that flows through Bangladesh dries up during the dry season due to India’s withdrawal of water from the river. Bangladesh has long been waiting for signing the Teesta water-sharing deal with India to resolve the water crisis during the dry season scarcity in the northern parts of the country, but West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been opposing it.
Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (ML) on Wednesday welcomed the BNP-announced 27-point programme for ‘the repair of the state’ and termed the move as time-befitting. In a statement, signed by Kazi Mustafa Kamal, a member of the party’s Politburo, however, said no provision was made regarding the poor condition of the country’s rivers and the outcry of three crore people on the banks of the Teesta River for water. It said about 60 percent of the population of the country, especially the marginal farmers and the workers working in the mills who need rations system, have not been mentioned in the campaign. Read more: BNP holds talks with Samyabadi Dal, DL to wage greater movement “Bangladesh is now in the list of underdeveloped countries. So how is it possible that the working people of the country will contribute to the GDP without eating properly,” the statement asked. “We hope that the leaders of the BNP …will pay attention to these demands of the people and if these demands are included they will be acceptable to all as universal demands,” said the party.
International Farakka Committee on Saturday demanded the implementation of the Teesta Master Plan to protect three crore people living in its basin in Bangladesh from heavy flood and river banks erosion. Atiqur Rahman Salu, chairman of IFC, voiced the demand in an opinion exchange meeting at the Abdus Salam Hall of the National Press Club. The IFC chairman said this while the promise for signing a treaty on the Teesta is lingering on for 12 years, in the dry season flow of the river is being diverted unilaterally from the Gazal Doba Barrage in West Bengal, India for more than two decades. No change to this unfortunate plight of the Teesta is in sight, he said adding, “We therefore believe that the government of Bangladesh should urgently take sustainable measures to minimize the adverse effects of drought-flood vagaries to the people of Teesta Basin in Bangladesh’. Dr. S.I. Khan, senior vice-president, IFC Bangladesh, Mostafa Kamal Majumder, coordinator and Ataur Rahman Ata, joint secretary of IFC and Rafiqul Islam Azad, former president of Dhaka Reporters’ Unity were present at the opinion exchange and answered questions of journalists. Atiqur Rahman Salu said no treaty has been signed on the Teesta although the two countries were supposed to do so in 2011. The Irony is that even in this rainy season Nilphamari, Kurigram and Gaibandha districts have experienced several waves of flood and riverbank erosion. Read: FM Momen rues long delay in Teesta deal with India He said devastating floods in the rainy season and dry rivers and drought in the dry season have brought environmental disasters to Bangladesh. “Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to go on a visit to India soon. It is our belief that she would discuss with the Indian Prime Minister in clear terms the plight of world’s largest delta Bangladesh that has originated from the common rivers,” he said. He also said this is urgent because being cut off from the common rivers the lush green environment of the country is getting destroyed day by day, damaging agriculture, breeding and feeding grounds of indigenous fish, and industry. People are losing livelihoods and becoming displaced. The IFC chairman noted that China has come up with an idea to implement a Teesta management and restoration master plan with nearly $1 billion in loan (about 10,000 crore Taka). The Power Construction Corporation or Power China wants to implement the master plan. Work on this project was supposed to begin in 2021, but has not started yet. He said, “ If water was available there was no need of alternative thinking. Given the present uncertain situation it’s not wise to sit idle. When the urge to restore the flow of the river from upstream will come under the dictates of nature the Bangladesh part of the Teesta will get a new lease of life.” IFC recommended that the Teesta Master plan can be expanded to cover Karatoa, Punarbhaba, and Atrai in the old Teesta basin. This will ensure overall development of the Northwestern part of Bangladesh. This master plan is no substitute for basin-based integrated management of the river to keep it alive, he said adding that it can help improve the lot of the people of the Teesta basin by protecting them from the annual floods and bank erosions.
The residents along the Teesta River are passing their days in fear of possible flood as the Teesta River was flowing above its danger level on Monday. The Teesta River was flowing 25 cm above its danger level around 6 pm on Monday due to onrush of water from the upstream, creating panic among the local residents. Also read: Teesta banks erosion: Over 50 houses washed away in 45 days Executive Engineer of Water Development Board, Nilphamari Dalia Division, Md Asafuddoulla said the char areas along the Teesta river have been inundated due to the rise in water level. Also read: Teesta swells in Lalmonirhat, forces opening of 44 barrage gates However, all the gates of the Teesa Barrage were kept open due tackle the situation.
The government is trying to implement mega projects in the Teesta to permanently prevent the erosion of the Teesta River and prevent floods, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman. The minister also said the design and project profile has been completed. The state minister made the remarks while inspecting the flood-affected areas of Teesta river at Gatiyasham area of Rajarhat in Kurigram on Friday morning. The state minister said, "It is uncertain when it will be completed. However, if the project is completed, the people of Teesta will not have any more misery." He added that heavy rains and onrushing waters have caused flash floods in four districts including Kurigram. The government is working to alleviate the plight of those affected by the floods and erosion. Each of the four districts has been allotted 50 MT of rice, Tk 5 lakh, 4,000 packets of dry food, Tk 2 lakh more for cattle food and 100 bundles of corrugated iron sheets. Arrangements will be made for the rehabilitation of each family affected by floods and river erosion, he said. At least 1017 families in three unions of Rajarhat were affected by Teesta erosion. Later, relief materials including 10 kg of rice, 1 kg of chira and half a kg of pulses and oil were distributed among the affected families at Sarishabari Government Primary School ground. Kurigram-2 MP Panir Uddin Ahmed, Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Md Mohsin, Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Rezaul Karim, Superintendent of Police Syeda Jannat Ara and District Council Chairman Zafar Ali were present at the event among others.
Floods triggered by onrush of upstream water and heavy rains have inundated low-lying areas in different upazilas of Kurigram district, leaving more than 2000 people marooned. Teesta River was flowing 20cm above danger level at Kaunia point of Kurigram on Thursday. As many as 2000 people in Gharial Danga and Vidyananda Unions of Rajarhat upazila in the district have been marooned as a result. Read: Red alert issued as Teesta flows 60 cm above danger level Besides, floodwater damaged Aman paddy and vegetables in the district. Putul Rani, a resident of Namavrat village said,” Despite having supplies in stock, I can’t cook anything as there is waist high water everywhere in my house.” “This is a terrible way to live,” she said. Read: Teesta flowing above danger level, all 44 barrage gates opened Hanif Ali of the same village said over the phone,” My entire home has been submerged.” “My family members have barely eaten since yesterday. We need immediate help.” Rajarhat Upazila Nirbahi Officer Noor Tasnim said 10 metric tons of food assistance was provided to the flood affected people Thursday morning and more will follow.
Not only the Teesta, but the Gangadhar river has also turned turbulent in Kurigram. Over the past few weeks, the raging river has swallowed large swathes of land in Nageshwari, rendering several families homeless. Jalepara, Ramdatta and Raghurvita villages are the worst affected. This monsoon season alone, 50 families have lost their homes and livelihoods due to land erosion by the Gangadhar river. Read Fight the Flood: Safety measures to take before, during, after floods in Bangladesh Every year, the river is swollen by seasonal rains and the erosion mainly takes place after the water from the monsoon subsides and the brittle soil on the banks collapses. Despite the erosion eating into the village roads and farm lands, local residents claim, no effective measures have been taken by the authorities yet, and they now live under the fear of losing their lives too. Many homeless people have now taken shelter at Raghurvita Government Primary School. Chandra and Bhanuram Biswas of Jalepara are among the unfortunate ones. Read: Teesta turns turbulent in Kurigram; leaves 100 families homeless "Every time, the river swallows our homes, we are forced to start from the beginning. This time, we have lost everything -- house, belongings and some money we had saved for the rainy day," the duo said. Kaledanga Jame Mosque, Ramdatta Jame Mosque, Ramdatta Mahila Hafeza Madrasa, Krishnapur Nurani Hafezia Madrasa, and the only paved road in Krishnapur now stand threatened by the Gangadhar. Akmal Hossain, a public representative, told UNB that the Water Development Board didn't take any visible steps this monsoon to prevent the problem that has been prevailing for years now. Read: Floods, landslides hit Rohingya camps hard: UNHCR Officials of the Water Development Board, however, said that a project for protecting the riverbank from erosion has already been sent to the higher authorities for approval. "The proposal was sent to the headquarters two years ago, but we are still waiting for an approval. We need a permanent solution to the problem. Temporary steps won’t be effective unless an embankment is constructed,” said sub-divisional engineer Omar Faruk Md Mokhtar Hossain.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday reiterated Bangladesh’s long-pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of water of the Teesta River with Bangladesh's fair share to alleviate sufferings of millions. It is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the Teesta water, the draft agreement of which has already been agreed upon by both governments in January 2011 to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta River basin, she underscored. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. “There’s positive approach (from Indian side) but a date has not been fixed when it will be delivered. They can’t spell out that it’ll happen within a week,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at a briefing at Sonargaon Hotel.