Mamata offers alternatives to Teesta

Mamata offers alternatives to Teesta

Bindu Dam on Jaldhaka river on India-Bhutan border

There had been hopes of positive talks about Teesta between Bangladesh’s prime minister and West Bengal’s chief minister, but Chief Minster Mamata finally refused to relent on the issue of sharing Teesta waters. Instead, she offered to share other rivers of North Bengal with Bangladesh.

Mamata Banerjee accepted Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s invitation and met with her on Saturday night.

Mamata’s refusal to share Teesta waters has stalled apparent moves to resolve the Teesta water sharing problem.

On Saturday too, Indian Prime Minister Modi held talks with Bangladesh along with Mamata. They even expressed hope about Teesta when talking to the media afterwards. However, Hasina wanted to speak to Mamata directly about the issue and asked the West Bengal chief minister to join her for dinner on Saturday night. It was there at the Rashtrapati Bhavan that Hasina explained Bangladesh’s need for Teesta waters, but Mamata said that Teesta itself has a scant amount of water and so it would not be possible to share the water with Bangladesh. She said as an alternative Bangladesh could share the waters of the rivers Torsa, Jaldhaka and a few other rivers.

The Prime Minister’s Office has been informed of West Bengal’s stand.

Speaking to the media on Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Modi had said that he firmly believed that the governments of India and Bangladesh would shortly resolve the Teesta agreement issue. He said that the importance of Teesta was same for both the countries and that was why West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was a guest in Delhi. He said, rivers were keeping the people alive, giving them a livelihood. The river Teesta played an important role in India and Bangladesh as well as in India-Bangladesh relations.

He said he was committed to Sheikh Hasina and to the people of Bangladesh to continue in his efforts to resolve the Teesta issue. Hasina expressed similar sentiments, saying that she hoped India would soon resolve the matter.