JRC to survey 3 rivers to demarcate border |
Iqbal Siddiquee, Sylhet
The Joint River Commission (JRC) has decided to resume surveying the bordering rivers, the Surma, the Kushiara and the Barak in January to demarcate the border line often changed by river erosion.
The decision, taken for the second time after two and a half years, needs about 10 months to be implemented, said a Water Development Board official, who attended the two-day JRC regional level committee meeting at Silchar in Assam in India on December 20-21.
Amir Khoshru, chief engineer of WDB northeastern region (Sylhet-Comilla), headed the 10-member Bangladesh side comprising officials from Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the WDB and River Research Institute. The Indian team was led by SR Swami, additional chief engineer of the Cachhar and Hills Water Resources Department.
This time, the survey will be conducted along the five kilometres of the Indian river Barak, 10 km of the Surma and five km of the Kushiara. A model study will be carried out in January 2007 on completion of the survey.
Earlier, the committee conducted a model study and decided to go for further study at a meeting at the WDB rest house in Sylhet on May 5, 2003. Since then, JRC activities remained suspended.
The WDB official said the meeting discussed emergence of new pieces of land in the Indian territory due to devouring of huge land by the Surma and the Kushiara.
A three-member Indian team will visit these rivers in March 2006 and attend the next region level committee meeting in Sylhet.
The meeting also discussed preparing a plan of action and a model test for dredging the Surma. It suggested further model study in both the countries for flood protection in the Barak valley along the Indian borders.
It reviewed the progress of the joint survey of the Barak and the Surma and Kushiara in Bangladesh conducted from 2000 to 2003.
The region level survey was started in 2000 and the JRC later held national level meetings in Dhaka and Delhi. The JRC Standing Committee also made a field visit of the Sylhet-Assam border in 2003.
Based on the previous work and reports, the latest meeting agreed to dredge the Surma to increase its navigability and check severe erosion along the Kushiara.
The Barak emerges from the hills of Manipur in India and bifurcates into two rivers -- the Surma and the Kushiara -- in Bangladesh.
The Kushiara and the Surma share the total discharge of the Barak at a proportion of about 80:20 during the monsoon, causing serious erosion of all concave banks from Amolshid to Gazukata affecting both the countries.