Monday, November 30, 2020
Home News Reports “Deliberate attempts to cause misunderstanding between Bhutan and Assam”: Bhutan Govt denies claims that...

“Deliberate attempts to cause misunderstanding between Bhutan and Assam”: Bhutan Govt denies claims that it has stopped irrigation water to Assam

Rejecting claims of stopping irrigation water supply to Assam, Bhutan govt clarified that due to the coronavirus restrictions the farmers from Assam were unable to enter Bhutan to maintain the irrigation system which provides water to farmers at the Indo-Bhutan border for decades.

Hundreds of farmers in Baksa district along Indo-Bhutan border, Assam, had staged a protest early this week against the Bhutan government’s decision to not allow farmers from the Indian side to channelise water from Bhutan’s side for irrigation.

Thousands of farmers from around 25 villages under Tamulpur sub-division of Baksa district along Indo-Bhutan border are involved in the cultivation of paddy rice by using water from the 100-year-old indigenous irrigation system called dong bandh on the Bhutan side. But this year Bhutan govt didn’t allow the farmers to enter Bhutan to repair the channels, due to which water didn’t reach the farms in Assam.

With demands to resolve the problem, hundreds of farmers of 25 villages in Tamulpur sub-division, on June 22 (Monday) staged protests and blockaded Rongia-Bhutan connecting road for several hours. The farmers demanded the Assam government to take the issue seriously and resolve it soon.

Farmers on Indo-Bhutan border using “Dong” bandh since 1953.

Farmers in Baksa region which is along the Indo-Bhutan border have never seen their harvest getting spoilt by either drought or delayed rainfall, despite having no access to irrigation pipes or water pumps. This is because for the past several decades the farmers in Baksa have been relying on water from the “Dong” bandh system in Okaladonga Barnadi Ashama Aranga. The channels have been used by farmers of Bhutan and India in the region since 1953 to use water from several rivers that originate in Bhutan and flow through the region towards the Brahmaputra.

Several decades ago, farmers in the Indo-Bhutan border, had built small dams on the rivers and routed the water through canals to their paddy fields and household ponds. The Dong bandh irrigation systems of Baksa, which spreads over 300 square kilometres, serve around 149,000 farmers and 94,600 agricultural labourers. This irrigation system is maintained by the Okaladonga Barnadi Ashama Aranga Dong Bandh Committee, which makes sure that the water keeps flowing to the farms. As the bunds are earthen structures, they require regular maintenance, and the channels also get blocked every year due to silt. Assamese farmers every year go across to the Bhutan side and clear the channels and repair the bunds to divert water from rivers in Bhutan into channels that irrigate farms in Assam.

However, as the farmers were not allowed to enter Bhutan this year, the channels could not be cleared and the fields in the area didn’t get water, which had created massive resentment in the entire district.

The news of protest by farmers was used by many to claim that after China and Nepal, now India’s relation with Bhutan has also deteriorated. But now both the Bhutan and Assam govt has issued statements clarifying that Bhutan has not taken any hostile step against Indian farmers, and the problems were created by Coronavirus and natural factors.

Bhutan govt call media reports a “deliberate attempt” to cause misunderstanding between India and Bhutan

After the outrage, the Bhutan government has now issued clarifications. It has rejected claims of stopping irrigation water supply to Assam. The Bhutan Foreign Ministry has said that the charges “are totally baseless” and that these are “deliberate attempts” to cause misunderstanding between the people of Bhutan and Assam.

It clarified that due to the coronavirus restrictions, the farmers from Assam were unable to enter Bhutan to maintain the irrigation system, which otherwise is a usual practice and this has led to the problem in the water supply.

Issuing a clarification on its Facebook page, the Bhutan Foreign Ministry has said: “It is a distressing allegation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to clarify that the news articles are totally baseless as there is no reason why the flow of water should be stopped at this time. It is a deliberate attempt by vested interests to spread misinformation and cause misunderstanding between the friendly people of Bhutan and Assam.”

Read- Fact-Check: Bhutan is not going to charge mandatory fee of $250 per head per day from tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives

“Baksa and Udalguri Districts in Assam have been benefitting from the water sources in Bhutan for many decades and they continue to do so even during the present difficult times when we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic,” added the Bhutan government.

“However, understanding the difficulty that would be faced by the farmers in Assam, the Samdrup Jongkhar District Officials and the general public have taken the initiative to repair the irrigation channels whenever there are problems to ensure the smooth flow of water to Assam,” said the Bhutan government statement.

Assam chief secretary, Kumar Sanjay Krishna states that the actual reason is “natural blockage”

Earlier in the day, the Assam chief secretary, Kumar Sanjay Krishna had also given similar clarification while speaking to ANI: “Irrigation water comes to Assam from hills of Bhutan, but there were boulders on the way which stopped the flow. We talked to Bhutan and they immediately cleared the path. There’s no dispute and to say that they stopped the water to Assam is wrong.”

Taking to Twitter, Krishna had shunned all media reports calling it “incorrect” and stated that “the actual reason is the natural blockage of informal irrigation channels into Indian fields”.

He also stated that Bhutan has been actually helping to clear the blockage.

The editor of The Bhutanese newspaper in ThimpHu, Tenzing Lamsang had earlier in a series of tweets, stated that Bhutan had, since March, imposed a mandatory 21-day quarantine even for its own citizens upon entering the kingdom. This has also had the effect of preventing Indian farmers from doing so for their agricultural needs.

“This is how we have prevented community transmission so far. Please don’t politicize this or draw non-existential inferences. Situation is not as heartless as it is being made out to be as local government on Bhutan side there had earlier agreed to maintain those water channels,” he tweeted.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

What they never told you when they said India was the worst performing emerging economy

India’s economy contracted by 23.9%. For comparison, Brazil’s GDP contracted by 11.9% and Russia’s GDP by 8%. So, did they really do better than India?

Assam closes down temporary Covid-19 care centres, gears up to reopen elementary schools as pandemic gets under control

Assam has been witnessing reduced cases of Covid-19 with recovery rate of 98 per cent and the death rate of 0.46 per cent

Shiv Sena to organise Azaan recitation competition, party leader calls it as important as ‘Maha Aarti’

Shiv Sena is to bear the cost of the event and will also reward the contest winners.

Chinese foreign ministry shares a fake image of Australian soldier murdering an Afghan child; PM Scott Morrison demands apology from Beijing

The fake image was shared in the wake of a report on war crimes committed by Australian forces deployed in Afghanistan

’Is that a water bottle?’: AAP candidate Asra Fatima’s poster for Hyderabad municipal elections has netizens in splits

In a true show of patriarchy, the women's identity of AAP candidate in GHMC polls is reduced to being a wife of party member.

Indian Idol contestant reveals how she faced opposition from conservative Muslim society as singing is ‘not allowed’

The Indian Idol contestant revealed how women in her society are looked down upon if they try to excel in any field.

Recently Popular

Wife of late Wajid Khan writes on her sufferings in an inter-faith marriage, says anti-conversion law should be nationalised

Wife of late music composer Wajid Khan wrote how her husband and his family had been forcing her to convert to Islam after their marriage

Actor Deep Sandhu disappoints Barkha Dutt after she provides platform to ‘distance himself’ from OpIndia report that he supports Khalistan

Barkha Dutt lamented after actor Deep Sidhu refused to condemn Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and to call him terrorist on her YouTube channel

SFJ ads appear on YouTube offering $10m support for farmers, in return, wants Sikhs to join ‘Khalistan movement’: Details

Amid ongoing farmers’ protests in Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, it is evident that Khalistani supporters have hijacked the protests and now, they are running ads on YouTube

Indian man proposes to his Australian girlfriend during Ind vs Aus cricket match, here is what happened next

While India's performance has been below par, netizens found happiness in the unusual proposal that became the highlight of the match.

‘Will not say Jai Hind, will teach lesson to Modi like we taught Indira’: Khalistani protester in presence of AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan

Sikh protester threatens to teach Modi a lesson in the save way they taught Indira Gandhi in the presence of AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan

Who is the man in farmer protest video, lying about ‘govt snatching farmland’: Profile of an actor and Khalistan supporter

Khalistan supporter Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu has been seen spreading the lie that govt will snatch farmer's land using the new farm laws

Private procurements from Adnai group helped eliminate middlemen and generate more income, reveals apple farmers from Himachal Pradesh

Apple Orchard manager Manjeet Singh Dhillon informed that Adani group had been purchasing apples from farmers since 2006.

Eight months after cutting water supply of migrants to drive them away in middle of pandemic, Arvind Kejriwal govt offers free water to protesting...

Delhi Jal Board VP and AAP MLA Raghav Chadha himself went to Burari to ensure water tankers are available for protesting farmers

‘Shaheen Bagh returns’: Netizens react as protesting ‘farmers’ served biryani at Ghazipur in New Delhi

Biryani at the ongoing farmers' protest brings back memories of the 'organic' Shaheen Bagh protests

Farmer group bats for ‘middlemen’, hails them as ‘service providers’ while scare-mongering about reforms in agriculture sector

Protesting farmers say that they are happy to pay commission to middlemen, claims new farm laws are not needed for their protection

Protests against farm laws are based on rumours and misinformation: PM Modi punctures holes in the propaganda surrounding farm laws

PM Modi noted, "The government is consistently addressing the fears and queries of farmers who are anxious about the government's decision."

Not ‘just a municipal election’, a defeat of TRS in the Hyderabad Municipal Elections will alter the political discourse of the state

Not just top BJP leaders, top TRS leaders are also campaigning hard for the GHMC elections, making it more than just a municipal election

Former PMO official from UPA era gets excited at ‘New Zealand MP supporting farmers,’ except that no MP from New Zealand supported

The former advisor to Manmohan Singh shared a Tweet by Canadian politician to claim that a 'New Zealand' MP is supporting the Punjab farmers' protest

Bijnor: Youth murdered because his brother had run away with a girl, case filed against the girl’s father Asgar and her brothers

Shivan murdered by Asgar and his sons because he was supporting his brother Sagar, who was jailed for having affair with Asgar's daughter

Odisha: BJD MLA expelled from party for links with ‘vigilance raid’ IFS officer and his son, accused of ‘anti-people activities’

The BJD MLA's daughter was scheduled to marry the corruption accused IFS officer's son in December.

What they never told you when they said India was the worst performing emerging economy

India’s economy contracted by 23.9%. For comparison, Brazil’s GDP contracted by 11.9% and Russia’s GDP by 8%. So, did they really do better than India?

Connect with us