A Bangladeshi invite for Mamata: Will she go?

Kolkata, Feb 20: An India-Bangladesh trade body Monday said it will invite Mamata Banerjee to a business fair in Dhaka as chief guest – a move that comes after the West Bengal chief minister previously refused to go to that country over the sharing of the Teesta river waters.

“We want to invite Mamata Banerjee to the Indo-Bangla Trade Fair May 31. We are officially inviting her,” India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Matlub Ahmad told reporters on the sidelines of a programme here.

Asked if Banerjee would accept the invitation, Ahmad said the Trade Fair would deal purely with trade.

“The business and investment environment between India and Bangladesh is on the upswing. India has opened the doors for Bangladeshi products and Bangladesh has also opened its doors for Indian investment,” he added.

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai Saturday met the chief minister in Kolkata to find a solution to contentious issues like the Teesta water sharing pact with Bangladesh and said the talks were “positive and useful”.

The talks were held in the background of Banerjee’s letter to the prime minister in which she protested Bangladesh getting more water than specified in the Farakka Barrage water sharing treaty.

While Dhaka is entitled to 35,000 cusecs of water, over 80,000 cusecs flow into Bangladesh after two sluice gates broke down at the barrage. As a result, the water level of Bhagirathi in India has gone down.

The deal for sharing of Teesta water which flows from north West Bengal to Bangladesh could not be finalised during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September last year due to Banerjee’s opposition that the proposed pact gave a greater share to Dhaka than earlier agreed upon by the central and state governments.

Banerjee also argued that she was not shown the draft of the treaty.