Recent news reports have claimed that India’s neighbouring kingdom Bhutan has stopped the flow of water for irrigation to Assam. The canal, they say, has been a source of water for irrigation to the farmers living along the bordering areas in Assam since the 1950s. Various posts related to this allegation have been shared widely on social media and has led to an uproar among citizens throughout the country. Farmers even took to the streets to protest the move.
A report on the same by Assam based News Portal East Mojo, with the headline: “Now, Bhutan stops irrigation water for farmers bordering Assam”, published on June 24, 2020, has been shared on their official Facebook Page with the caption: “#Assam: After aggression from China & Nepal, Bhutan stops irrigation canal which was active since 1953 ignoring interest of over 6,000 farmers on Indian side
It has been mentioned in the news report that Bhutan has stopped releasing channel water for Indian farmers along the border in Baksa district of Assam without citing any reason and this has created massive resentment in the entire district.
The Facebook post has been shared about 20 times and there are about 40 comments so far.
Has Bhutan really blocked the flow of water in the irrigation canal to India? Let’s check the authenticity of the report.
Fact Check Methodology:
A search on Twitter with relevant keywords showed a Tweet by Kumar Sanjay Krishna, Chief Secretary, Government of Assam, on his Twitter profile, where he has posted a clarification. The Chief Secretary clarifies that recent media reports about Bhutan blocking water supply to India has been misreported and that Bhutan has actually been helping to clear a natural blockage on the informal irrigation channels that flow into Indian fields. He also posted a collage of pictures where people can be seen toiling away trying to clear deposits in a canal.
PIB in Assam has retweeted the Chief Secretary’s post on their official Twitter handle and has declared the news reports to be Not True. PIB had shared a letter sent by the Deputy Commissioner of Samdrupjongkhar, Bhutan to the Deputy Commissioners of Baksa and Udalguri in Assam stating that Bhutan hasn’t blocked the flow of water to India. The letter explained that the natural obstructions caused by incessant rains that are usually cleared by Indian farmers who cross over to Bhutan are now being cleared by Bhutanese volunteers and workers keeping in mind the strong bond they share with their neighbouring Udalguri and Baksa districts. The entry of Indian farmers has been stopped as the borders are sealed owing to the pandemic. The letter stated the media reports and social media posts are “unbelievable”.
Bhutan hasn’t blocked the flow of irrigation water to India. The canal has some naturally occurring obstruction which is being cleared by Bhutanese volunteers and workers. The Chief Secretary of Assam and Deputy Commissioner of Samdrupjongkhar, Bhutan have debunked the reports. We urge our readers not to share any post pertaining to this matter without considering the above stated facts.
Title:Bhutan hasn’t stopped flow of irrigation water to AssamFact Check By: Manjori Borkotoky