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Teesta agreement to be implemented after West Bengal elections

  • Published at 07:03 pm March 17th, 2021
Dry river Teesta
File photo of a portion of Teesta River Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

‘Bangladesh and India are determined to save the river,’ said Kabir Bin Anwar, senior secretary of Ministry of Water Resources

Senior Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources Kabir Bin Anwar said India has assured that the decision on Teesta agreement may be implemented soon after the West Bengal elections, along with some other issues.

He also said: “There has also been progress on the issue of water from the Kushiyara River to the pump house at Rahimpur for irrigation.  The issue of conducting a joint survey has been discussed as the water level of the Mahananda river has decreased. The discussion was very positive and fruitful.”

Anwar made the remarks at a press conference at the VIP lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Wednesday, detailing his meeting with the officials in New Delhi.

The secretary-level meeting between water resources ministries of Bangladesh and India, under the framework of the Joint Rivers Commission, was held on Tuesday. 

Anwar led the Bangladesh delegation while his counterpart Indian Water Resources Secretary Pankaj Kumar led the Indian delegation in the meeting.

Responding to a reporter's question, Kabir bin Anwar said: “Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will be a guest on the birth centenary and golden jubilee of the Father of the Nation. Moreover, their elections are ahead in West Bengal and Assam. So, at this moment, I don't think there will be any discussion about the agreement.”

The Bangladesh-India secretary-level meeting was held in August 2019.  Although the Indian secretary was invited last year, it was delayed due to the pandemic. 

Mentioning that the two countries have agreed to save the river, Anwar also said: "First the natural flow of the river must be ensured, then the distribution of water. The survey, inspection, data collection, etc. will be done jointly to bridge the gap between the two countries."

Information about six rivers is being discussed. There will be a framework agreement soon. A total of 54 rivers will be discussed in phases, he added.