The Bhutan foreign ministry has said due to the coronavirus restrictions, farmers of Assam have been unable to enter Bhutan to maintain the irrigation channels as is the usual practice and this has led to problems in water supply.
Images shared by Bhutan Foreign Ministry show workers clearing the irrigation channel for Assam. (Image: Facebook)
After several reports claimed that Bhutan has stopped irrigation water supply to parts of Assam, the Bhutan Foreign Ministry has issued a detailed clarification saying the charges “are totally baseless” and that these are “deliberate attempts” to cause misunderstanding between the people of Bhutan and Assam.
The Bhutan Foreign Ministry issued a clarification on its Facebook page and said, “It is a distressing allegation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to clarify that the news articles are totally baseless as there is no reason why the flow of water should be stopped at this time. It is a deliberate attempt by vested interests to spread misinformation and cause misunderstanding between the friendly people of Bhutan and Assam.”
“Baksa and Udalguri Districts in Assam have been benefitting from the water sources in Bhutan for many decades and they continue to do so even during the present difficult times when we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic,” added the Bhutan government.
The foreign ministry has said due to the coronavirus restrictions, farmers of Assam have been unable to enter Bhutan to maintain the irrigation channels as is the usual practice and this has led to problems in water supply.
“However, understanding the difficulty that would be faced by the farmers in Assam, the Samdrup Jongkhar District Officials and the general public have taken the initiative to repair the irrigation channels whenever there are problems to ensure the smooth flow of water to Assam,” said the Bhutan government statement.
Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna made a similar remark and told ANI, “Irrigation water comes to Assam from hills of Bhutan, but there were boulders on the way which stopped the flow. We talked to Bhutan and they immediately cleared the path. There’s no dispute and to say that they stopped the water to Assam is wrong.”
Earlier this week, hundreds of villagers from different villages in Assam staged a protest against the Bhutan government after the irrigation water supply stopped.