Bangladesh has asked for flood data from more upstream stations on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Barak and other rivers for accurate and increased lead time flood forecast in the country but India has maintained that sufficient data for flood forecasting is being given to Dhaka, sources said. From this season onwards, India has extended the period of flood data transmission to Bangladesh up to October 31 to cater to any unforseen situation, the sources said.
The matter was recently discussed at a meeting of the Joint River Commission held with Bangladesh. The 38th meeting of the ministerial-level Joint Rivers Commission of India and Bangladesh was held in New Delhi on Thursday. The Indian delegation was led by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The Bangladeshi delegation was led by Zaheed Farooque, State Minister for Water Resources. Enamul Hoque Shameem, Deputy Minister for Water Resources, was also part of the Bangladeshi delegation.
Bangladesh has asked for flood data from more upstream stations on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Barak and other rivers for accurate and increased lead time flood forecast in the country but India has maintained that sufficient data for flood forecasting is being given to the neighbouring country, they said. The sources also said India has extended the period of flood data transmission up to October 31, which was earlier up to October 15.
At the meeting, it was also decided that a standard operating procedure or protocol for flood data sharing shall be prepared by the technical committee and till such time, the existing mechanism will continue to operate. The meeting assumes significance as it was held after a gap of 12 years, though the technical interactions under the framework of the JRC have continued in the intervening period. The meeting was preceded by water resources secretary-level interactions on Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by the Jal Shakti ministry, India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers, of which seven were identified earlier for developing a framework of water-sharing agreements on priority. During the meeting, it was agreed to widen this area of ongoing cooperation by including eight more rivers for data exchange. The matter will be further discussed at the technical-level committee of the JRC.
India is providing a five-day advisory forecast based on the IMD rainfall forecast that is available in the public domain, which can be used by Bangladesh. The JRC and the ministerial-level meeting come ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s three-day visit to India starting September 5, during which defence cooperation and regional stability are likely to be the focus of her talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official said.