Teesta resolution unlikely

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Bilateral talks during INdian PM’s Dhaka visit

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Author / Source: ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
 Any breakthrough regarding the much-talked about Teesta water sharing
agreement is highly unlikely during the upcoming visit of Indian Prime
Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh, said government officials.
The
issue will be discussed during the bilateral discussion and Bangladesh
will lay emphasis on early resolution to the issue, they said.
However, the officials admitted that it is highly unlikely that there
will be any breakthrough during the Indian prime minister’s visit.
Dhaka
and Delhi were supposed to sign an interim agreement on Teesta water
sharing during former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to
Bangladesh in September. But, it could not be signed due to last-minute
objection raised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“The
Teesta agreement is not on the list of possible settlement issues
prepared for discussion. But the issue of construction of the Ganges
barrage will be discussed at prime ministerial level meetings,” state
minister for water resources, Mohammad Nazrul Islam, told The
Independent.
“The Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) is the sole agenda
during Modi’s proposed visit. The final deed on the Teesta agreement has
been prepared, but will not be signed now. It would, however, be signed
soon,” the minister said.
The LBA is likely to be signed during
Modi’s visit. The people of Bangladesh, even the BNP, have welcomed the
Indian initiative to sign the LBA, he added.
New Delhi and Dhaka
agreed to sign a 15-year interim accord on sharing the waters of common
rivers Teesta and Feni at a secretary-level meeting of the
Indo-Bangladesh Joint River Commission (JRC) on January 11, 2011 in
Dhaka.
Bangladesh and India have agreed on a 50:50 share of the
Teesta waters, leaving some amount of water aside at the Gajaldoba
point, about 70 km from northern Bangladesh.
Sharing the waters of
other common rivers — Dharla, Dudhkumar, Manu, Khowai, Gumti and Muhuri
— between Bangladesh and India also remains unresolved since the last
JRC meeting in New Delhi in October, 2005. But some development was
noticed at a secretary-level meeting in 2011.
“India is exhibiting
due respect for its neighbouring country Bangladesh. We are exchanging
all data and information on unresolved common rivers between the two
countries. The unresolved issues will be solved in the coming days,”
Nazrul Islam said.
“We are not getting enough water during the lean
period for irrigation, but receive enough during the rainy season.
During the past few years, we have had only five to seven hundred cusecs
of water in the Teesta in the lean period. After signing the Teesta
water agreement, we hope to get enough water during the dry season,”
former water resources minister Ramesh Chandra Sen said.
The
multi-purpose Teesta barrage was constructed in 1981 for irrigation
purposes, but Bangladesh is unable to use it fully due to lack of flow
in the river.
Bangladesh has only one Teesta barrage at Dalia in
Lalmonirhat, while India has a barrage on the Teesta at Gajaldoba in
Jalpaiguri, the Mahananda barrage at Fulbari and the Dahuk barrage at
Chopra.
Under an agreement of 1983, India uses 39 per cent of the
river waters, while Bangladesh gets 36 per cent. It is the remaining 25
per cent that is the bone of contention. The issue gets complicated
because groundwater mixes with the river water along its 90 km stretch
from the Gajaldoba barrage in India to Bangladesh, making it difficult
to measure the quantum of water.
http://www.theindependentbd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=258767:teesta-resolution-unlikely&catid=129:frontpage&itemid=121