Teesta Agreement with India will be signed soon: Bangladesh FM Moni

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 03, 2013 14:50 hrs

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Sunday said the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement with India would be signed very soon.

Speaking on the sidelines of her meeting with visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Moni said: "Teesta Agreement with India will be signed soon."

In the recent past, Moni has consistently maintained that the water sharing agreement will materialise, and ahas repeatedly added that the people of Bangladesh are also optimistic about the pact being signed.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister has said that water is a very important issue for the people of Bangladesh, and believes that the deep-rooted ties between India and Bangladesh will result in the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement being signed.

Plans for signing the agreement had to be abandoned during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka in September 2011 following a last minute objection by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to the quantum of water to be given to Bangladesh.

Sources in India and Bangladesh have quoted Moni, as saying that both countries are forging ahead to strengthen their bilateral relations and fulfilling the agreements signed between the two countries.

The Teesta River is said to be the lifeline of Sikkim, flowing for almost the entire length of the state. The river forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal before joining the Brahmaputra as a tributary in Bangladesh.

The total length of the river is 309 kilometers. India has proposed to build a series of dams within the Teesta river system that should produce some 50,000 MW of electricity within the next 10 years.

With some of the largest sediment loads, the creation of a reservoir will lead to an increased pressure on an active fault area.

There are concerns that the building of these dams may lead to river-induced seismicity. Despite such worries the construction of the dams had started.

India and Bangladesh are yet to decide on the exact figure of water sharing from the Teesta River.

In the recent pasr, there were reports that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had objected to giving Bangladesh 33,000 cusecs of water, as mentioned in the final draft of the interim treaty for Teesta water-sharing, instead of 25,000 cusecs in the initial draft.

Sources, however, made it clear that no figure was mentioned in any draft.

The sources said there was no question of having arrived at any agreed quantum of water-sharing between India and Bangladesh because the two countries have not undertaken any joint measurement of the availability of water in Teesta.

While India and Bangladesh have separate figures about the availability, no joint survey was done so that they could decide on the quantum of sharing the water, particularly during lean season from October to April, they said.

The idea behind an interim accord was that a joint survey is undertaken and criteria finalised about availability of water in the catchment areas of Teesta and the kind of alluvial soil downstream of the river before going for a permanent agreement.

The sources said the Teesta agreement should be carefully crafted and this is acknowledged even by Bangladesh because of its ramifications for sharing of water of other rivers flowing through the two countries.

They said there was immense scope for cooperation between India and Bangladesh in view of "enormous complementarities" between them in a range of economic activities, including power and connectivity. (ANI)

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