Dhaka, Mar 19: Dhaka asked New Delhi through a note verbale about India’s West Bengal excavating two new canals for withdrawing water from the Teesta River.
Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday (19 March).
Earlier on Thursday (15 March), State Minister for Water Resources Zaheed Farooque told the media after a meeting at the foreign ministry that the Joint River Commission already prepared a letter that would be sent to India soon, asking about the reported plan of diverting water from the Teesta by the West Bengal government.
Regarding the letter, Masud Bin Momen said, “The letter will be written by the Ministry of Water Resources. We have sought information from the Ministry of External Affairs through a note verbale.”
When asked if Dhaka has expressed concern in the note verbale, Masud bin Momen said, “This may have been India’s plan for a long time, but nothing has happened as of yet.”
The West Bengal government in principle decided to set up three hydropower projects in Darjeeling hills, risking further offence to Dhaka which has been waiting more than a decade for a treaty on the sharing of the Teesta’s waters, reports The Telegraph on 13 March.
Two of the three planned Darjeeling projects are likely to reduce the volume of water in the Teesta that is available for irrigation, particularly during the December-April lean period when the demand for irrigation water goes up in Bangladesh, it added.
The Indian media reported the transfer of 1,000 acres of land to the irrigation ministry of West Bengal to excavate two new canals for withdrawing water from the Teesta and the Jaldhaka.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Seheli Sabrin said on 15 March that the life and livelihood of the people in a large part of Bangladesh depend on the Teesta. Therefore, Bangladesh has been trying for a water-sharing deal with India for many years.