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HomeFact checkNewsBhutan Has Not Stopped The Flow Of Irrigation Water To Indian Farmers

Bhutan Has Not Stopped The Flow Of Irrigation Water To Indian Farmers

Claim 

A tweet by Subramanian Swamy claims that Bhutan has stopped the flow of irrigation water for Indian farmers. 

Posted on 25 June, his tweet received over 8,000 likes and 2.5 thousand retweets. The claim is accompanied by a news report published by South Asian Monitor. 

Fact check

In the midst of border tensions in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh with China a variety of related false information is circulating on social media. Among these include information on India’s state of affairs and political relationship with its other neighbouring countries like Bhutan. 

At this point, Subramanian Swamy, a Rajya Sabha MP and BJP national executive member tweets that Bhutan stopped the flow of irrigation water to farmers along the border in the Indian state of Assam. The accompanying news report by South Asian Monitor claims that many Indian farmers have been affected by this blockade since they were dependent on this water supply for irrigation. 

A Twitter advanced search led us to Tenzing Lamsang’s post which states that Bhutan has not stopped flow of any irrigation water to India. Lamsang, editor of the Bhutanese Newspaper and the President of Media Association of Bhutan further states that annually, Assamese farmers are allowed to divert a section of river water from Bhutan into channels that irrigate farms in the Indian northeastern state. But due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic the Bhutan border is sealed to all foreigners. His tweet-thread posted on 25 June can be read below.

In the same thread Lamsang adds a tweet posted by Assam’s Chief Secretary, Kumar Sanjay Krishna who writes that media reports claiming Bhutan’s restriction on 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,” he adds. 

Further, through a keyword search on Google we found a Youtube video posted by Hindustan Times on 26 June detailing the topic in context. This video includes a clip by Chief Secretary Krishna who explains that the river channel in Bhutan from where this irrigation water flows, got blocked due to boulders during the lockdown. On reaching out to Bhutan’s officials, they agreed to help clear the channel. Therefore, it’s wrong to say that Bhutan stopped the flow of water to the northeastern state. 

A press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan on 26 June clarified the false news reports that allege Bhutan of stopping the supply of irrigation water to farmers in Assam. 

You can read more on this topic here and here

We’ve covered this claim in our Hindi fact check as well.

Conclusion 

A tweet posted by Subramanian Swamy on 25 June claiming that Bhutan stopped the flow of irrigation water for Indian farmers is false. In reality, the channel got blocked by boulders falling into the river. 

Tools Used

  • Twitter advanced search
  • Google advanced search

Result: False

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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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