HC issues new rule on India-Bangladesh Ganges Water Treaty

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Dhaka, Jun 19 (UNI) The Bangladesh High Court today issued a rule asking the government to explain why directives should not be given to ensure the due share of the Ganges water with Bangladesh as per the Indo-Bangladesh Ganges Water Treaty and review it.

A division bench, headed by Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, issued the rule following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) writ petition filed by two lawyers Muraduzzaman and Faruk Hossain..

''The rule is made returnable in four weeks,'' the court said.

During the hearing, counsel for the petitioner Tajul Islam submitted that Clause 10 of the Treaty signed on December 12, 1996, which provides a provision for review of the light-ground reality in every five years and even in two years.

But, he argued that no effort was made for the review of the treaty in the last 12 years and that has deprived Bangladesh from its due share of Ganges water.

Not only that, Tajul said the country is also becoming waterless following unilateral withdrawal of the mighty river water at the Farakka point.

He further blamed the government for not taking any practical step to address the issue.

The counsel also demanded a court direction compelling the government to construct barrage inside Bangladesh as an alternative measure.

Deputy Attorney General Idris Khan opposed the submission by the petitioner's counsel saying that since it is an international treaty, the court has nothing to do with it.

The Cabinet Secretary, the Secretary to the President, the Foreign Secretary, the Water Resources Secretary, the Forest and Environment Secretary and the Food and Disaster Management secretary were made respondents to the writ petition.

Issuing a three-pronged rule, the court asked the government why a directive should not be given to ensure the due share of water of the Ganges according to the Treaty.

It also directed the government to explain why directive should not be given to review the treaty in line with the United Nations convention and the Berlin Rules.

UNI XC PY KN2130

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