What is Teesta Water Dispute?

Teesta Water dispute is a dispute on Teesta river sharing agreement between India and Bangladesh. Bangladesh wanted equitable distribution of Teesta water with India on the lines of Ganga Water Treaty of 1996, but nothing materialised. This article lucidly explains the background behind Teesta Water Dispute, origin and tributaries of the  river.

Candidates would find this topic to be of importance while preparing for IAS Exam.

Teesta is a 414 km long river flowing from India to the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh. Almost half a dozen districts in West Bengal is dependent on this river. Teesta river provides livelihood to approximately 73% of Bangladesh population as per report furnished by Asia Foundation in 2013.  In 1983 a deal was proposed for equitable sharing but the implementation hit a roadblock. Mean annual flow of the river is 60 billion cubic metres. A significant amount of it flows during monsoon season i.e. between June to September. During lean season i.e. from October to May, the flow is only 500 million cubic metres per month. In the month from December to March, Bangladesh wants 50% of the water supply, whereas India has claimed for a share of 55%. In 2011, the agreement did not fructify due to objections from West Bengal Chief Minister. As per the constitution of India, Water is a state subject and approval of all the stakeholders is required for the deal to go ahead. In 2019 External Affairs Minister of India had a meeting with his Bangladesh counterparts and they were still unable to reach a consensus on the water-sharing agreement.

What is the Origin of the Teesta River?

It originates from Tso Lhamo lake in Sikkim. This lake is at an altitude of 5,330 metres. This lake is 118 km from Darjeeling. As per some sources, in addition to Tso Lhamo, even Teesta Khangse Glacier is the source of origin of Teesta river. It is located at an altitude of approximately 7000 metres.

Is Teesta River a Tributary of Brahmaputra River?

Teesta River is a tributary of Brahmaputra river. Brahmaputra river is called Jamuna River in Bangladesh. Teesta River crosses Rangpur region of Bangladesh and joins the Jamuna river at Chilmari, after flowing for a distance of 320 Km.

Which is the Major Tributary of Teesta River?

Rangeet River is the major tributary of Teesta River. Rangeet river is the largest river in Sikkim. Rangeet river joins Teesta river at a place known as Tribeni.


The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2020.

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