India-Bangladesh water sharing agreement on Teesta soon


New Delhi: In a “significant movement forward” after a five-year hiatus, India and Bangladesh have agreed to expeditiously finalise an agreement on sharing waters of the Teesta river.

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The two sides exchanged their draft documents after the two-day ministerial-level water talks that concluded here Friday.

The 37th India-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission met in New Delhi. The Indian side was led by Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal while his Bangladeshi counterpart was Water Resource Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen at the two-day discussions. The commission last met in 2005.

“The meeting between the two ministers was held in an atmosphere of great warmth and cordiality and (they) expressed their resolve to carry forward the discussions on all water related issues,” an official statement said.

“The discussions included issues relating to water sharing of the Teesta river and other common rivers,” the statement from the external affairs ministry said.

“India presented a draft statement on principles of sharing of Teesta waters during dry season. Both sides agreed to mandate the respective secretaries of water resources to examine the drafts presented by both sides towards an expeditious conclusion of an interim agreement on Teesta. This is a significant movement forward on this issue,” the statement said.

The two sides also discussed drinking water supply and minor lift irrigation schemes on rivers Feni and Muhuri, implementation of 1996 Ganga Waters Treaty, bank protection and embankment repair works, cooperation in flood forecasting and warning arrangements, cooperation in flood management measures including dredging of Ichhamati river, Tipaimukh Dam Project and river inter-linking project in India.

The two sides expressed satisfaction at the bank protection and embankments repair works being undertaken by mutual agreement on several sites in both countries.

They also finalised 12 new Indian sites and 22 new Bangladesh sites in addition to the 66 sites already agreed upon.