West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday that the India and Bangladesh governments should resolve the long-standing issue of sharing waters of the Atreyee river, the lifeline of South Dinajpur district.
Banerjee said the flow of the Atreyee water into India had been artificially restricted on the Bangladesh side and was creating problems for the people of the district.
The chief minister was replying to a question in the assembly by Revolutionary Socialist Party legislator Narmada Chandra Roy. The MLA from Kushmandi in South Dinajpur asked the government about the steps it was taking to alleviate the problems of the people in the area due to lack of water flow in the river.
Banerjee said she had taken up the issue of lack of water in the river on the Indian side with the Bangladesh prime minister two-three times and also with the Indian prime minister.
She said it was unfortunate that the matter had not been taken up with due urgency by the Union government with its Bangladesh counterpart, even though the people of South Dinajpur continue to suffer.
The river originates near Siliguri in north Bengal, flows into Bangladesh before entering South Dinajpur. After meandering through Balurghat and Kumarganj blocks, it flows again into the neighbouring country.
Banerjee said even if heavy rains occur in Jharkhand and Bihar or in neighbouring country Bhutan, West Bengal had to bear the brunt of floods due to its geographical position.
Rivers from these states and Bhutan flow into West Bengal, and it leads to floods, the chief minister said, adding that the issue had been taken up with the Centre.
India also has a long-standing issue with Bangladesh over the sharing of Teesta river water.
Last Tuesday, Banerjee had contended that Bangladesh was "hurt" over the Teesta dispute, saying she would have shared water from the river with the neighbouring country had the situation been favourable.