• Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freedom in the air

Mamata blocked Teesta deal: PM

Unb, Dhaka

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the Teesta water sharing treaty between Bangladesh and India could not be signed due to an objection raised by the chief minister of West Bengal.
"We had reached a consensus over the Teesta water sharing, but it was very much unfortunate that the chief minister of an Indian State, Mamata Banarjee, raised an objection," she said.
But the Indian central government was very much cordial to sign the treaty, she said, adding her government was hopeful that the problem would be resolved through discussions.
Hasina made the remarks in her introductory speech during a meeting with high officials of the water resources ministry at the secretariat.
This is for the first time that the Bangladesh leader has come up with the allegation against the West Bengal chief minister on the Teesta water sharing issue.
The treaty was supposed to be inked during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh in 2011.
But it did not happen as the chief minister of West Bengal refused to come to Dhaka with Manmohan, raising her objection to the treaty at the last leg of the visit.


Hasina told the ministry officials at the meeting that the framework agreement on sharing the water of the Teesta had been finalised, but the deal could not be signed due to the objection.
She also said the negotiations were going on with India to have Bangladesh's due share of Teesta water, and hoped that the treaty would be inked soon.
Referring to the Ganges Water Treaty with the neighbouring country, she said the minimum water flow in the Ganges river during the dry season had been ensured since 1997 following the signing of the deal.
In the Ganges water sharing treaty, a decision had been taken to construct the Ganges barrage by Bangladesh to preserve waters for the dry season and a study in this regard had already been completed.
But India as the upper-riparian country can control the flow of the water of joint rivers, and joint initiatives of the two countries are urgently needed to implement the project, she told the meeting.
About the Tipaimukh project, Hasina said it has to be done after consultation with Bangladesh. A Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development was signed between Bangladesh and India in 2011.
Two joint tripartite working teams -- India-Bhutan-Bangladesh group and India-Nepal-Bangladesh group -- are working in Ganges and Brahmaputra basins to undertake and implement hydroelectricity projects and ensure proper water management.
Once completed, Bangladesh will be able to purchase hydroelectricity from the project at a cheaper price, she said.
She also mentioned that negotiations were on to produce hydropower on a joint venture basis with Myanmar as three rivers enter Bangladesh from that country.
Hasina said over 400 rivers are flowing inside Bangladesh, including 54 originating from India, and three from Myanmar, and most of them are under the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna basins.
Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Published: 12:01 am Monday, May 12, 2014

Last modified: 7:57 pm Monday, May 12, 2014

TAGS: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina teesta water chief minister of West Bengal. Indian State Mamata Banarjee Indian central government Tipaimukh project

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