Teesta River turns sandy at Jaldhaka
JALDHAKA, NILPHAMARI, Mar 5: The Teesta River in Jaldhaka Upazila of the district has turned sandy due to want of water.
According to field sources, the largest Teesta Irrigation Barrage of the country is now looking a sandy char. The river is set to lose its navigability because of big slopes of sands.
There has been a cry for water across about 130 kilmetres (km) in the downstream of the river. The river is now free of current and boat.
The river had turned deadly due to non-stop rainfall and upstream tide by July in the last year. To protect the barrage, its 52 gates were opened. Lakh of people in the upstream and downstream of the barrage became marooned.
More than one lakh families lost their houses and lands in erosion. These families are now staying in other's houses or on embankment.
Now within in three months only, it has become a crying sandy land.
It was learnt, flowing over Sikim and West Bengal Teesta has entered Bangladesh crossing the Indian border along Dimla Upazila of Nilphamari District. The river has met with the Brahmaputra River flowing over Nilphamari, Lalmonirhaat, Rangpur, and Gaibandh districts.
The river is 315 km long including about 130 km in Bangladesh.
The Indian government has built embankment at Gazaldoba to control the Teesta water unilaterally. That is why the portion of the river in Bangladesh turns dry in the dry season.
For not being implemented the Teesta water sharing agreement, in the rainy season, thousands of people in Bangladesh are turning destitute every year. At the same time, thousands of farmers in the downstream of the barrage are witnessing crisis of Boro farming irrigation.
As a result, the Teesta Barrage Irrigation project has turned almost non-functional.
Sources said, if the Teesta water sharing agreement is not implemented, the Teesta River can turn a dead canal soon. With this, the biodiversity in the country's northern region is apprehended to be threatened seriously.
Crore of people along banks of the Teesta are waiting to see Indian Prime Minister Norendra Modi in Dhaka by March 26.
They are hoping to see light about the Teesta water sharing agreement.
A visit on Friday found 45 gates of the total 52 ones of the Teesta barrage were being closed to control upstream water by the Indian authority.
At present, IRRI-paddy irrigation is being done through the remaining seven gates.
An inhabitant of Dawabari Village along the Teesta River Alam said, "This river is making no service to us. We are being eroded only every year. Our Teesta River in Nilphamari District is being utilised by people of other areas."
A fisherman of Teesta bank Hazrat, 45, said, "No water is in Teesta. We are cultivating IRRI-paddy with tide water."
At present we are living on net-making as the Teesta is water-free, he added.
If governments of two countries resume water flow in the Teesta, thousands of fishers will get means to survive, he further said.
Farmer Afzal, 50, of Shoulmari Banpara Village of the upazila said, maize and pumpkin farms cannot be irrigated due to want of water in the Teesta; so irrigating is being done through shallow machine.
But shallow-machine-based irrigation is requiring extra cost, he added.
Executive Engineer of the Dalia Point of the barrage Robiul Islam said, there are 2,500 cusec water in the upstream of the river; this water is enough for normal irrigation.
The Teesta River needs at least 4,000 cusec water for existence, he added. But after December the water flow of Teesta declines drastically, he mentioned.