B'desh awaits Teesta river deal during PM's visit: Minister
Bangladesh on Wednesday reminded India of its commitment over Teesta water sharing agreement ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi, saying Dhaka awaits a draft deal on the matter signed six years ago to be turned into an agreement.
"On the issue of Teesta, two subsequent Indian Prime Ministers (Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi) said the draft of the proposed deal on Teesta will be turned into an agreement.
And they made this commitment not in private conversation but in public statements," Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said on the sidelines of a water conference here. He declined to speculate over possibilities during Hasina's visit to India from April 7 to 10, saying "I cannot give you any timeframe, but I can tell you that the central government in India is sincere and they are working on it".
Islam said there are "internal political perspective of every country over such issues, and you are well aware of this (in the case of Teesta). But we definitely want the justified share of Teesta waters not only for our agriculture, but also for saving the river... the flow drastically declined two years ago". Bangladesh has long been insisting on signing of a water sharing agreement, which so far failed to yield the much expected treaty.
The Teesta river, which has its origin in Sikkim, flows through the northern part of West Bengal before entering Bangladesh and joining the Brahmaputra river.
Its flow is crucial for Bangladesh from December to March when the water flow often temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusec from 5,000 cusec.
Bangladesh and India have an outstanding issue of sharing waters in the common Teesta river with West Bengal having a major stake in the process.