Mamata's objection blamed – water sharing bilateral issue: Hasina

Mamata’s objection blamed – water sharing bilateral issue: Hasina


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji and said her opposition was responsible for India and Bangladesh failing to sign the Teesta Water Sharing treaty.
Bangladesh and India were all set to ink a deal on the Teesta water share during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit in September 2011.
But the signing had to be cancelled following last-minute objections raised by the West Bengal chief minister.The prime minister has so far made positive remarks on the deal but she categorically put the blame on Banerji for the first time on Sunday.
“We (Bangladesh and India) have reached an understanding after talks on the Teesta River,” Hasina said at a meeting with officials of water resources ministry.
“But this is unfortunate that Chief Minister Mamata Banerji raised objections. This is quite unfortunate. The central government was sincere.
“We hope to solve the matter through talks,” she said.
Banerji was also to accompany Manmohan Singh during his 2011 Dhaka visit. But she cancelled her visit at the last minute and the deal could not be signed.
Diplomatic efforts were made on behalf of the governments of both the countries to get the deal through but the much expected deal is yet to be signed.
The prime minister emphasised on a joint initiative by Bangladesh and India for constructing the Ganges Barrage. On Tipaimukh project, she said, “It can be done after discussions with us.”
Hasina said negotiations were afoot for setting up two hydroelectric plants, one with India and Bhutan and the other with India and Nepal.
“We are having talks for setting up hydroelectric plants. We will invest in the project.”  She said discussion was going on with Myanmar to build a hydroelectric plant with the country. Three rivers from Myanmar are flowing into Bangladesh, she said.
The prime minister laid importance on safeguarding rivers. “Our rivers are like veins and arteries. They have saved us. We have to save them as well.”
The rivers enter into the sea through Bangladesh after originating in the Himalayas and flowing through India, she said.
As many as 400 rivers are flowing into Bangladesh. Of them 57 are trans-border rivers — 54 from India and 3 from Myanmar enter Bangladesh.
Most of the rivers are flowing from the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. The India-Bangladesh joint river commission was constituted in 1972.
Bangladesh and India inked a 30-year Ganges treaty on Dec 12, 1996. Hasina said the water sharing issue between rivers of Bangladesh and India is bilateral issue.
“Many have complained about the issue before the international forum. We can take any decision keeping good relation with the neighbouring countries.” –


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