CM sticks to Teesta stand, tells Centre 'look for options'
Claiming that a water sharing deal on Teesta river with Bangladesh may jeopardise the daily lives of North Bengal residents, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would have no problems in providing water to the neighbouring country provided the Centre is ready to look at "suitable alternatives".
Addressing a rally at Rashmela ground at Cooch Behar, she said: "I love the people of Bangladesh but if Teesta water is given to them, people of Siliguri and Jalpaiguri will not get water. I have studied the matter carefully and so came up with alternatives." It may be recalled that in her recent meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi early this month, Banerjee had said no water from river Teesta could be given to Bangladesh at the cost of Bengal.
Banerjee said water from river Torsha and other rivers could be easily shared with Bangladesh. It may be mentioned that she had given this proposal during Hasina's visit to New Delhi. But Bangladesh government had rejected it.
Banerjee said Farakka water was being given to Bangladesh and now the Kolkata Port was drying up. The Centre had not carried out dredging operation for years together. "The Kolkata Port is drying up and it has become a major problem. The Centre is not carrying out dredging operation."
Banerjee said one should understand the ground reality and then take a final decision. "When anybody wants to set up a medical college, then a careful study of the area is required first and then the decision can be taken."
It may be mentioned that the Centre has set up a committee to study the condition of Teesta in Sikkim and then it will submit a report. Because of construction of barrages in Sikkim, the flow of the river has been badly affected.
She urged the Bangladesh government to remove the barrages on river Atreyi as it is affecting the supply of water in Balurghat. "They have set up barrages on river Atreyi and the people of Balurghat will not even get drinking water some day."
Coming down heavily on the BJP, she urged the people not to support the saffron party as it was "trying to divide society and the masses." She further added "the Hindutva they are talking about is not Hinduism. Our religious leader is Sri Ramakrishna and we believe in toleration. We worship different gods but who are they to tell us that only Rama or Hanuman should be worshipped. This is not religion as religion never talks about hatred."
About issuing Aadhaar Cards to cows, she remarked: "A day will come when they will issue Aadhaar Cards to the children who drink cow milk," and added "some day, they will issue Aadhaar Cards to women for wearing bindi or wearing saree or salwar kameez."
The BJP leaders have lost mental balance and time has come when they should go and consult doctors, she observed.