Bangladesh has agreed to let India withdraw 1.82 cusecs of water from Feni river.
This has come as a major respite for the people of Sabroom border town in South Tripura.
The negotiations, which were dragging on since the early 90s, finally came to fruition as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India to allow the release of potable water during her recent visit.
Bangladesh’s decision comes at a time when India and Bangladesh have another protracted dispute on the sharing of the water of Teesta River.
In the joint statement, according to reports, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted that the people of Bangladesh are waiting the early signing of the Teesta water-sharing agreement which was agreed upon by both the governments in 2011.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to have conveyed to Hasina that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for the conclusion of the agreement at the earliest.
However, despite securing a breakthrough in water negotiations with Bangladesh, back home, the situation is complicated by domestic policy of development and India’s poor track record in achieving effective pollution control.
Sabroom, a small border town with a population of 7,142 that has been dealing with acute potable water shortage, is now set to get its first Special Economic Zone.
This was one of the promises by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, which the Centre approved recently.
Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb had said that he aspired to establish Sabroom as a major Indo-Bangla trade centre.
To further that goal, India will construct the bridge on the river Feni to get access to the Chittagong international seaport in Bangladesh and the neighbouring country has agreed to allow India to use the Chittagong port, about 75 kilometres from Sabroom, according to reports.
However, SEZs are known to have a considerable ecological impact, especially on the water use pattern and the quality of the groundwater.