Hope Teesta water agreement would be resolved soon: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina –

NEW DELHI: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday expressed her hope that the pending Teesta water agreement would be resolved soon, just as other pending bilateral issues between the two neighbours, after a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.
“…I recalled that the two countries had resolved many outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation and we hope that all outstanding issues including Teesta Water Sharing Treaty would be concluded at an early date,” Hasina said on Tuesday.
While Hasina expressed hope on “Teesta” being settled soon, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been seen as a “stumbling block” in the deal, is keen to visit Bangladesh, accepting Hasina’s invitation to see the Padma Bridge, according to sources.
Whether Banerjee will be able to make a trip to Dhaka, however, will depend on the Centre giving its clearance for such a visit. Earlier the Modi government has on two occasions denied the Bengal chief minister permission to travel to Rome and to China.
Hasina had communicated with Banerjee before her Delhi visit and had invited her to see the Padma Bridge, a major development achievement for Bangladesh. Before that Hasina had sent mangoes to Banerjee in the summer and the Bengal CM had congratulated the Bangladesh PM for the Padma Bridge in July.
Hasina and Banerjee have shared a cordial relationship, even as the Teesta waters have remained a contentious issue on both sides of the border.
Banerjee had objected to the Teesta treaty back in 2011, on the ground that the then Manmohan Singh government at the Centre had ignored Bengal’s interest while deciding to share 37.5% of Teesta waters with Bangladesh, retaining 42.5% of the waters during the lean season between December and March.
Banerjee’s contention has been that the quantity of water to be shared should be decided in consultation with Bengal since its people are real stakeholders in the agreement.
However, Banerjee has since been willing to discuss Teesta with the Centre to work out the quantity of water that Bengal can share with neighbouring Bangladesh.
But the Modi regime since 2014, has seen aggressive rivalry between Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress ruled-Bengal and the BJP-ruled Centre. This political narrative has also come in the way of sorting out the Teesta waters issue.
According to TMC insiders, Banerjee who has been blamed both in Dhaka and New Delhi for coming in the way of the Teesta water sharing to be resolved, has not been against the sharing of waters. “But for that the Centre needs to talk to chief ministers of Sikkim and Bengal — states through which the Teesta flows – and that has not happened so far,” the insiders added.