We asked Didi for water, she gave us electricity: Hasina on Teesta pact

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 10, 2017

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Seetharaman during a event organised by the India Foundation in New Delhi on Monday - Photo: RV Moorthy


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The much-awaited Teesta river water sharing agreement remained in limbo even as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrapped up her India visit on Monday with hopes of signing the pact at the “soonest.”

“On Teesta issue, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi once again reiterated his government’s strong resolve to conclude the water sharing treaty at the soonest. Once it happens, the face of Indo-Bangladesh relations would undergo another transformation,” Hasina said at a reception organised by India Foundation on Monday.

Taking a dig at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been vehemently opposing the treaty, the Bangladesh Prime Minister said: “We asked for water from Didi (Banerjee), but she gave us electricity. At least, we got something.”

Teesta has been on the top of Hasina’s agenda when she met Modi on Saturday. Apparently, the Indian side informed Bangladesh that the pact would be signed by the end of this year or early 2018, sources told BusinessLine.

This was Hasina’s first visit to India after almost seven years. She has come to power in Bangladesh on the plank of economic development. However, the Opposition parties have been berating her for not being able to sign the Teesta water treaty, which has taken centrestage in Dhaka’s domestic politics as well as in the Indo-Bangla bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Modi and Banerjee held an elaborate meeting here on Monday but nothing concrete emerged on Teesta. However, it seems that Banerjee has agreed to discuss the matter, sources said. Banerjee had earlier said that the water levels of Teesta have been depleting fast with the river almost drying up during summer seasons.

Teesta is one of many rivers that flow between India and Bangladesh borders. As a result, Bangladesh has been demanding a river water sharing pact with India for over two decades now.

“A comprehensive, basin-wide solution with an in-built solution to water sharing of all the common rivers holds the key to our common future,” Hasina said.

Trade deficit concerns

During her address to the Indian industry, Hasina raised concerns over Bangladesh’s growing trade deficit with India. To bridge this deficit, she said India can invest in special economic zones (SEZs) in Bangladesh.

“We are setting up 100 special economic zones to boost industrialisation and to attract foreign investment. SEZs in Mongla, Bheramara and Mirshorai have been exclusively dedicated for Indian investors,” she told the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

She also said said that her government plans to achieve 24,000 MW by 2021 from 15,726 MW power generation at present.

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Published on April 10, 2017
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