More Water Disputes At India's Northern Border

30 Jun 2020 by Staff - Water Diplomat

The government of Bhutan has firmly denied media reports that it had deliberately blocked the supply of water along an irrigation canal into the northen province of Assam, India, amid suggestions that the reports were an attempt by vested interests to spread misinformation and misunderstanding.

The canal, constructed in the 1950s, is generally maintained from the Assam side, meaning Bhutan permits Indian workers entry in order to clear blockages. Recent flow issues are associated with heavy monsoon rains. However, due to lockdown and border closures associated with COVID-19, free cross-border access has been temporarily suspended, while Bhutan district officials have attempted to undertake the maintenance work where required.

It has been reported that about 6,000 Assam farmers demonstrated on 22 June to express serious concern over what was perceived to be a decision of the Bhutanese government not to release channel water to Indian farmers for irrigation purposes. The farmers demanded that the Indian government take up the issue with Bhutan to find a solution that would address the interests of the farmers in the district.

Tensions with India’s northern neighbours have flared up recently on borders with China, Nepal and Pakistan.

Nepal has laid claim to disputed territory in Bihar and has stopped all repair work of river embankments. Nepal has approved a Constitutional Amendment that updates Nepal's political and administrative map ito incorporate three Indian territories laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along the border with India.(OOSKAnews)

India Today's "Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA)" has described reports to be misleading, saying that Bhutan has not blocked irrigation water to Indian farmers.