Guwahati: Bhutan finance minister Tshering Namgyel has announced that his country is very much committed to supply irrigation water to ‘Indian friends’ along the border in neighbouring Assam.
Reacting to media reports that over 6,000 farmers from the Indian side of Baksa district of Assam along the border have expressed serious concern for not getting water from a decade-old man-made irrigation channel from Bhutan, Namgyel said that the Bhutan government has been doing its best to ensure continuous supply of water to the farmers in Indian side of the border.
Over the past three months, district administration, subdivision administration , mayor office, members of COVID19 task force, volunteers from government servants, members of local communities of Bhutan have been doing best to ensure continuous supply of water to our farmer friends of India from Daifam-Udalguri, Samrang-Bhangtar, Motonga-BokaJulee and Samdrupjongkhar town – Patkikulee, the minister said.
“Due to frequent rainfalls in mountain ranges, river water level has been increased putting our hard and sincere efforts in vain. Hope and pray that, our Indian friends will understand the problem,” the Bhutanese minister said.
This reaction from the senior Bhutan minister brings respite to over 6,000 farmers hailing from more than 26 revenue villages of Baksa district of Assam, who are solely dependent on the man-made irrigation channel (locally called as ‘dong’) to carry water to a huge chunk of paddy fields on the Indian side of the district from Bhutan since 1953.
On Facebook, the minister wrote, “NEIGHBOURHOOD FIRST. BHUTAN INDIA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic preventive guidelines and close friendship between the people of Bhutan n India. Over the past three months, District Administration, Subdivision Administration , Mayor Office, members of COVID19 task force, volunteers from government servants, members of local communities of Bhutan have been doing best to ensure continuous supply of water to our farmerfriends of India from Daifam-Udalguri, Samrang-Bhangtar, Motonga-BokaJulee and Samdrupjongkhar town – Patkikulee . Due to frequent rainfall in the mountain rangesresulting tosudden increase ofthe flow of waterin the river some time puttingour hard n sincere effort in vain. Hope n pray that, our Indian Friends will understand the problem.”
Earlier on Monday, the farmers along with other civil society members of Baksa district in large numbers staged a demonstration and expressed serious concern for not getting water in the channel.
Expressing their gratitude for releasing water for irrigation purposes over the decades, the demonstrators also demanded the Indian government to take up the issue with their Bhutan counterpart and find a solution keeping the greater interest of the farmers in the district in mind.
Meanwhile, Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna has also clarified that natural blockage is the actual cause behind the disruption of informal irrigation channels into Indian fields.