Bhutan blocks water channels, Assam farmers block road to protest against move

The farmers from 25 villages in Assam, chiefly from adjoining areas of Tamulpur, Baksa district near Bhutan border of Kalipur, Bogajuli, Kalandi areas have left their fields to protest on road and blockaded Rongia-Bhutan connecting road for several hours, voicing against the Bhutan government’s decision to prohibit farmers from the Indian side to channelise water from the other side for irrigation purposes.

According to India Today, the paddy farmers of the areas in vicinity to Bhutan Samdrop Jhankar in Assam, India are dependent on the Kalandi river as they operate on a rainfed irrigation model.

Over 1953 fields operate in similar with 26 villages who resort to similar farming practises. It is estimated that about 5,000 farmers are dependent on the river.

Due to the covid-19 lockdown, the Bhutanese government has closed all entries of outsiders to the country and said that Indian farmers will not be allowed to use irrigation channels originating from Bhutan.

The farmers demanded the Assam government to take the issue seriously and resolve it soon.

A protesting farmer said that without water, they will face more problems.

“We had brought water to our paddy fields by making dong bandh in Bhutan side. Due to lockdown, the Bhutanese government has totally barred us to enter there. We are now facing water crisis for cultivating paddy rice. The government should have to resolve the problem soon. We will intensify our protests if our demand is not fulfilled,” the farmer said.

Earlier, Nepal had claimed land in Bihar, and erected barriers to stop Indian repair work of river embankments on the India-Nepal border.

Nepalese authorities had stopped the officials of Water Resources Department (WRD) of Bihar government from carrying out embankment-related work on the border, claiming that the area is part of its territory.

Recently, the Nepalese armed forces deployed troops at the Indo-Nepal border in addition to building a helipad.


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