Dhaka to raise Kolkata’s Teesta waters diversion at UN and issue demarche to Delhi

New Delhi : The West Bengal government’s decision to dig two new canals to divert some waters of the Teesta river for irrigation purposes in Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar districts has spoilt the festive mood ahead of the inauguration of the first ever 130 km long cross-border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are scheduled to inaugurate the ‘India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline’ via a video conference on Saturday, March 18. However, Bangladesh is upset with the West Bengal state government’s proposed plan to build canals to divert Teesta waters for irrigation purposes.

Reliable sources indicate that Dhaka is sending a ‘demarche’ (a formal, diplomatic protest) to the Delhi-based Indian government to seek an explanation about West Bengal’s proposed projects on the Teesta river, which will reduce its flow, amidst a protracted, unsettled process for sharing the waters of the trans-boundary river.

Though the harsh diplomatic word ‘demarche’ was not mentioned by the Bangladesh Foreign office Spokesperson, Saheli Sabrin, she did say at the foreign office’s weekly media briefing that “We will prepare a paper on the issue in  consultation with our water resources ministry and the JRC (Joint River Commission) and then we will ask the Indian side regarding the issue.”

She added that Dhaka was analysing “the situation with caution” and, currently, the foreign office was in touch with the water resource ministry and JRC to collect information regarding the proposed projects. According to reports, the West Bengal government also plans to build two hydropower projects using the Teesta waters, which, in turn, may affect the flow of the river to downstream Bangladesh. If the state government does go ahead with the two or three planned Darjeeling hydro power projects, it is likely to reduce the volume of water in the Teesta that is available for irrigation, particularly during the December–April lean season, when the demand for irrigation water goes up in Bangladesh.

Although the Bangladesh Spokesperson maintained a soft line, to resolve the issue through dialogue, “in view of the excellent bilateral relations” between the two neighbours, she simultaneously articulated Dhaka’s hard line, that the Bangladesh government would take up the issue at UN water conference, which is scheduled in next month in New York.

India was hoping that the operation of the ‘India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline’ would put in place a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment friendly mode of transporting HSD (high speed diesel) from India to Bangladesh and thereby create an important confidence building measure between the countries, as farmers of the northern districts of Bangladesh would be benefitted despite non signing of the Teesta waters agreement between the neighbours.

The decision of the West Bengal government has definitely put a spanner in this move. Some experts feel that Kolkata’s move is of a more political nature, as farmers in north Bengal require more water for irrigation. The area is politically sensitive particularly since the BJP got the maximum number of their Lok Sabha seats from this area. The region may  again face a stiff political contest in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

It is interesting that the political slugfest between the BJP and the TMC in West Bengal has also placed Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party on the back foot, as they get ready for general elections soon, in January 2024.



Transcending seas and space, PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina launch futuristic India-Bangladesh partnership

New Delhi: Setting a futuristic vision for bilateral cooperation in new areas, India and Bangladesh concluded 10 agreements following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart...

Sri Lankan President inaugurates India-funded projects during EAM Jaishankar’s Colombo visit

Colombo: Marking strong neighbourhood ties between South Asia's historical allies India and Sri Lanka, visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday jointly...

Committed to strengthening India-UK strategic partnership in third term, says PM Modi after meeting Sunak

Apulia (Italy): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday reiterated his commitment to further strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and the UK during the third term of the NDA...

Batting for peace through dialogue & diplomacy, PM Modi holds ‘productive meeting’ with Zelensky

Apulia (Italy): Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that he held a "very productive" meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the 50th G7 Summit in...

MEA slams vandalisation of Gandhi statue by Khalistani separatists in Italy

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday that it has already raised the issue of vandalisation of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi by Khalistani separatists in...

Issues with China & Pakistan need to be resolved: S. Jaishankar after assuming office

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar on Tuesday said that China and Pakistan are two distinct countries and India is committed to resolve the issues with both countries....

Jaishankar meets Maldives President Muizzu, says looking forward to working together closely

New Delhi: Union Minister S. Jaishankar called on the visiting Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu in New Delhi on Monday as both countries look afresh at bilateral ties at the start...

UP BJP ready with report on ministers’ non-performance in polls

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh BJP have prepared a report on the performance of ministers and legislators who lost their constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections. “The report will be sent...

Europe is no longer a continent of peace: Zelensky in Paris

Paris: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday told the French parliament that Europe was a continent at war and that Russia would not stop its aggression at the borders of...

Australia seeks inputs on developing ‘new roadmap’ for closer economic engagement with India

New Delhi: The Australian government has invited public submissions as it prepares a new roadmap for the country's closer economic engagement with India. The roadmap will not only take stock...

India expects to secure long-term deal to operate Iran’s Chabahar port

Mumbai: India is expected to secure a long-term arrangement for the management of Iran’s Chabahar sea port which would clear the way for strengthening economic ties between the two countries,...

It is in our common interest that we reach an understanding to take our relationship forward, EAM Jaishankar tells Maldives Foreign Minister

New Delhi: India on Thursday reminded Maldives that it has been a key provider of development assistance to the island nation and several projects funded by New Delhi have benefited...

Read Previous

‘Akhilesh expresses solidarity with Trinamool on Cong-less alliance’

Read Next

Man dies after falling from open lift in Central Delhi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com