There have been several news articles published in India since June 24, 2020, alleging that Bhutan has blocked water channels that supply irrigation water to Indian farmers in Baksa and Udalguri districts in Assam adjoining the country’s Samdrup Jongkhar district.
Bhutan today rejected media reports claiming that it has stopped the supply of irrigation water to farmers in Assam, terming them “totally baseless” and a “deliberate attempt” by vested interests to cause misunderstanding with India.
“This 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 said.
“It is a deliberate attempt by vested interests to spread misinformation and cause misunderstanding between the friendly people of Bhutan and Assam,” the ministry said.
Bhutan’s statement came hours after Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, in a late-night tweet, termed the media reports as “incorrect” and said that the actual reason was a natural blockage.
“Recent media reports about Bhutan blocking water supply to India has been incorrectly reported. The actual reason being the natural blockage of informal irrigation channels into Indian fields! Bhutan has been actually helping to clear the blockage,” Mr. Krishna said.
Since the lockdown in India and the closure of Bhutan’s borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assamese farmers are unable to enter Bhutan to maintain the irrigation channels as was done in the past.