'Would've shared Teesta water with B'desh had situation been favourable'
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in the Assembly on Tuesday that Bangladesh has stopped supplying Hilsa as the Bengal government had opposed the Teesta water sharing treaty with the neighbouring country. She also said she would have shared water from the river with the "friendly" neighbour, had the situation been favourable.
During a question answer session, Banerjee told the House: "As we have denied sharing Teesta water, the Bangladesh government has stopped supplying Hilsa to our state. We have also set up a research centre in Diamond Harbour and increased the production of Hilsa to meet the demands. The research centre has been working to further increase the production of Hilsa in the state."
"If I had the ability, I would have definitely shared Teesta water with them. I've no problem. Bangladesh is our friend," the Chief Minister said.
She also said: "People in Bengal love eating fishes including Hilsa. We have denied sharing Teesta water. We could have shared the water, if we had the scope. Bengal has increased the overall capacity of fish production. We will not import fishes from other states in 1-2 years. As a result, the prices of fishes in the state will go down as there will be no transport cost involved."
Banerjee also mentioned during her speech in the Assembly that if the researches are carried out successfully, the Bengal government will be able to supply Hilsa to other states.
"There is no scarcity of Hilsa fish in Bengal now. During Hilsa season, we get enough fish from Diamond Harbour and Kolaghat," the Chief Minister said, while replying to a query by Deganga MLA Rahima Bibi.
It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister had earlier said on the Teesta issue that if the state government shares Teesta water, people from Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and other parts would suffer.
She also pointed out that Teesta was drying up and the farmers in North Bengal would not be able to carry out agricultural activities if its water was shared with Bangladesh.
Banerjee mentioned that as many 700 agricultural ponds have been created in the state so far, thereby giving a great stress on fish farming in the block level. She also mentioned about the Moyna model. The model was initiated in different districts for augmenting the production of fish. It was adopted during FY 2017-18.
Apart from this, more than 3 lakh ponds in the state have been created under the Jal Dharo Jal Bharo scheme in the last 8 years. The state fisheries department has been distributing fishlings across the state for encouraging fish cultivation in waterbodies.