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Date: 9 Dec 1995 11:37:46 -0500
From: (Surzzo)
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.bangladesh

An Urgent Appeal to the World Conscience


Save Humanity - Save Bangladesh!!

*** Please, print and read to save your (online) time.***

The name Bangladesh has become synonymous with Natural disasters which are beyond the control of human beings. But in recent years, a man-made disaster known as the Farraka Barrage has seriously affected Bangladesh's agriculture, navigation, fisheries, forestry, salinity and various components of the ecosystem.
In 1975 India completed the Farakka Barrage about 11 miles from the borders of Bangladesh to divert 40,000 cfs of the Ganges water into the Bhagirati-Hoogly River with the ostensible purpose of flushing the accumulated silts from the bed of the river and thereby improving the navigability at the Calcutta Port. The unilateral withdrawal of the Ganges water during the low flow months has caused both long-term and short-term effects in Bangladesh.

Long-Term Impacts on Bangladesh:

a) One fourth of the fertile agricultural land will become wasteland due to a shortage of water.
b) Thirty million lives are affected through environmental and economical ruin.
c) An estimated annual economic loss of over half a billion dollars in agricultural, fisheries, navigation and industries.
d) Frequent flooding due to environmental imbalance and changes in the natural flow of the Ganges.

The Immediate Effect on Bangladesh:

a) Reduction in agricultural products due to insufficient water for irrigation.
b) Reduction in aquatic population.
c) Transportation problems: boats rendered useless; tributaries are dry during dry season.
d) Increased salinity threatening crops, animal life drinking water, and industrial activities in southwest Bangladesh.

Steps Taken to Resolve the Problem:

a) Since 1951 negotiations between the former governement of Pakistan and India did not bear any results.
b) After Independence the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission met over 90 times without any results.
c) In April 1975, Bangladesh agreed to a trial operation of the Farakka Barrage for the period from April 21-May 31 to divert 11,000-16,000 cfs. India, however, continued to divert the full capacity of 40,000 cfs after May 31.
d) On November 26, 1976 the U.N. General Assembly adopted a consensus statement directing the parties to arribe at a fair and expeditious settelement.
e) On November 5, 1977 the Ganges Waters Agreement was signed, assuring 34,500 cfs for Bangladesh.

Current Status:
The five-year treaty expired in 1982 and after several shorter extensions, lapsed entirely in 1989. India is now diverting 40,000 cfs with complete disregard of Bangladesh's fair share.

What You Can do to Help Bangladesh:
More than 200 river basins are shared by two or nore countries. The sharing of river basins between countries is the rule rather than the exception. Bangladesh values its friendship with all nations and sincerely urges all nations and humanitarian agencies to utilize their resources to resolve this life-threatening situation.

The International Farakka Committee of New York is looking for ways to bring this crisis to the attention of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies. If you have any suggestions, please contact any of the following people:

Chairman: Kazi Zakaria (718)699-0965
Senior Vice Chairman: Atiqur R.K. Eusufzai (201)779-2207
Secretary General: Syed Tipu Sultan (718) 217-6645 (H)/(718)529-3343(O)/
Arif Khan - (Internet)

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