Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 28 march: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Saturday reiterated Bangladesh’s long-pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of water of the Teesta River with Bangladesh’s fair share to alleviate sufferings of millions.
It is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the Teesta water, the draft agreement of which has already been agreed upon by both governments in January 2011 to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta River basin, she underscored.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
“There’s positive approach (from Indian side) but a date has not been fixed when it will be delivered. They can’t spell out that it’ll happen within a week,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters at a briefing at Sonargaon Hotel.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran were also present.
Momen said the two countries have developed a very good rapport and need to work together on all important issues.
“We’re always hopeful that it’ll happen one day,” said the foreign minister, adding that they are also in discussion to improve navigability of other common rivers.
The Indian side also requested for early finalisation of the draft of the interim agreement for sharing water of Feni River, pending with the Bangladesh side which had been agreed upon by both sides in 2011.
The two leaders directed their respective ministries of water resources to work towards an early conclusion of the Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of water of six common rivers – Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
Bangladesh side reiterated the urgency for India to allow excavation of the remaining portion of Rahimpur Khal for utilisation of Kushiyara River water for irrigation of the Upper Surma Kushiyara project, as the matter is directly linked with the food security of Bangladesh.
In this regard, early concurrence was requested from India on the proposed MoU to be signed between the two countries for the withdrawal of water from the Kushiyara River by both sides, pending signing of the agreement in this regard.
The Indian side conveyed that the MoU was under consideration, in consultation with the relevant state government.
Recalling that the MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni River was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in October 2019, the Indian side urged the Bangladesh side for early implementation of the MoU.
The two prime ministers directed the Joint Technical Committee, formed for the purpose, to expeditiously commence the feasibility study of the Ganges-Padma barrage and other alternative options in Bangladesh for optimum utilisation of the Ganges waters received by Bangladesh as per the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, 1996.
The two leaders recalled the positive contribution of the Joint Rivers Commission and expressed satisfaction at the recently concluded secretary level meeting of the water resources ministries of the two countries.
“I’m sure this visit will lead to further strengthening of bilateral ties between our nations,” Modi tweeted.
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