Dhaka, Sep.6: Government sources on Tuesday indicated that India and Bangladesh are unlikely to sign a deal on the Teesta river waters issue during the current two-day visit to Dhaka of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, but could up with an interim agreement.
“We are still trying to find one solution that suits all. There will be no deal unless all are involved and are onboard. If all are not onboard, it cannot be implemented. One of the main states is West Bengal. We have to take them onboard,” said the sources.
“We aren’t there yet. We are close. We don’t have a joint mechanism as yet about water measurement. So, the idea is to have an interim agreement. Then, we review how that is going. We then do a joint management and then an agreement. I don’t think anybody has a problem on that plan,” one source said.
The source further revealed that the disagreement was about the measurement of water.
“Now, when we don’t have a joint arrangement on that issue, how can we come to a conclusion on how much water is to be shared by each side. We have to evolve that,” the source said.
Earlier, Bangladesh Government officials here said they were yet to hear from New Delhi on the issue.
“We have seen the reports in Indian media, but we are yet to get any confirmation from New Delhi…We will communicate with the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka,” said Foreign Secretary Mijar-ul-Quayes told newsmen here.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s adviser Gauher Rizvi also said that “the report on Teesta River issue was yet to be confirmed.
“I think there is no point to make any comment on the issue at this moment,” he had said.
On Monday, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told a pres briefing in New Delhi that India would finalise the Teesta River water sharing agreement with Bangladesh only after consulting governments of the “states concerned which are going to be affected by the deal”.
“In our federal scheme of things, nothing is done or will be done without consultations with the state government. Any agreement that we conclude will have to be acceptable to the State Government…won’t get into details on where we are now,” he said.
Mathai’s comments came as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee opted out of the Prime Minister’s visit to Dhaka, apparently unhappy over the draft agreement over sharing of Teesta river waters.
Reports said Banerjee was concerned about certain portions of the draft agreement, as she did not “want the deal to harm her state’s interest in any way”.
The deal on Teesta, which originates in Sikkim and flows to Northern part of West Bengal before entering Bangladesh, was a big-ticket item on the agenda of Prime Minister’s two-day visit. but has now run into uncertainty following Banerjee’s reservations on inking the water-sharing pact.By Smita Prakash (ANI)