Teesta deal ‘uncertain’, again

Dhaka, May 9 (bdnews24.com) – The fate of the Teesta deal has become uncertain, BBC Bangla radio reported quoting a ‘highly-placed’ official of the Indian government.

The Indian government has also informed Bangladesh’s foreign minister Dipu Moni that the signing has been put off for now, it said on Wednesday.

Even though the Teesta water sharing pact was to be signed between the two neighbours during the Indian prime minister’s visit to Bangladesh in September last year, it was halted at the last moment due to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s opposition.

Bangladesh, in return, halted the transit agreement.

Banerjee, who is also a Trinamool Congress leader, claimed that she was not shown the draft before. Indian PM Manmohan Singh had apologised for the halt in the face of intense media criticism in Bangladesh and India, and expressed his frustration over the failure.
The agreements are on hold since then and the two governments have been regularly holding talks over the deals. The deals also came up at foreign minister-level talks during Dipu Moni’s recent visit to India.

While her Indian counterpart SM Krishna assured that the Indian central government is working to ease the water-sharing pact, Dipu Moni told the Indian media that the relation between Bangladesh and India would be ‘hit strongly’ if the pact is not reached.

India has given up on transit through Bangladesh in the future, which was to be given in return of the deal, the BBC source said.

Instead, the country is undertaking work to link Mizoram with Myanmar through Kaladan River as an alternative route for transit, the Indian official reportedly said.

“This would hike India’s costs, but there is no alternative,” the official was quoted as saying.