The BNP has said it has planned a long march to the Teesta Barrage in Lalmonirhat in public interest, without the remotest hint of terrorism as imagined by the ruling Awami League.
At an event in Dhaka on Sunday, acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said his party would make the people aware of their national interest.
It also plans to involve them in its movement to press for an equal share of the 54 trans-border river waters, including the Teesta’s, -- still a sticky issue between India and Bangladesh.
Reacting to the remarks of a minister about the BNP’s long march programme, Fakhrul said, “After we announced the programme, many of the ministers have described the Teesta march as an act of terrorism.
“We would like to make it clear that the BNP’s long march doesn’t aim at state power, but is intended for people’s welfare.”
The BNP organised the roundtable titled ‘Fair-share of Teesta river waters: Context Bangladesh’. Engineer ANH Akther Hossain and Professor Sabbir Mostafa Khan of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) jointly presented the keynote paper.
The BNP leaders and activists will set off on a two-day long march to the Teesta Barrage in Lalmonirhat from its Naya Paltan central office at 8am on April 22, demanding Bangladesh’s due share of the river water from India and denouncing the government’s failure.
The march will end after holding a public rally at Dalia near the Teesta Barrage the following day.
Referring to the present water flow of the Teesta River in its Bangladesh portion, Fakhrul said, “This year, the water flow of Teesta River has declined to record lowest of 400 cusecs (cubic feet per second).
“The lives and livelihoods of the people of Bangladesh are now at stake because of building the barrage in the upstream of the river.”
Regarding the ongoing election in India, Fakhrul said, “We don’t stand to gain anything from the Indian election. Because Bangladesh is the same to every Indian government. They don’t think about anyone else but themselves.”
Fakhrul further claimed that the Indian government was diverting Teesta waters to its north-eastern estates by curtailing Bangladesh’s share.
“To get rid of this problem, the government will have to hold an election under a non-party government. Besides, the issue of fair water sharing should be raised in an international forum.”
He blamed the ruling Awami League’s “fondness” for the Indian government for its failure to get a fair share of the Teesta river waters.
“Owing to its excessive fondness, the government is sacrificing the interests of its own country. Our enclaves issue with India is yet to be resolved, while the killing of Bangladeshis by the Indian BSF along the border hasn’t stopped. The government couldn’t make arrangements for signing the deal on Teesta river water sharing.”
He further said but the Awami League government awarded India different facilities – including the transit, use of Chittagong seaport, installation of the Rampal coal-fired power plant and ‘power corridor’ to link India’s north-eastern and north-western parts with electricity transmission lines spanning Bangladesh territory.