March 3, 2024, 2:14 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-03-17 21:43:08 BdST

Dhaka to ask Delhi regarding WB’s proposed Teesta projects

Bangladesh has decided to seek an Indian explanation on West Bengal’s proposed projects on the Teesta reducing its flow, amid a protracted unsettled process for water sharing of the trans-boundary river, the foreign ministry said here today.

“We will prepare a paper on the issue with consultation of our water resource ministry and JRC (Joint River Commission) . . . (then) we will ask the Indian side regarding the issue,” foreign ministry spokesperson Seheli Sabrin told newsmen at the foreign office’s weekly media briefing.

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.

The foreign ministry comments came as a recent Indian media report suggested that West Bengal state government decided in principle to dig two new canals to divert the Teesta waters for irrigation purpose in Jalpaiguri and Coach Bihar districts.

The Telegraph newspaper report said the West Bengal government also planned to build two hydropower projects using the Teesta waters affecting its flows to downstream Bangladesh.

“Two of the three planned Darjeeling projects are likely to reduce the volume of water in the Teesta that is available for irrigation, particularly during the December-April lean period when the demand for irrigation water goes up in Bangladesh,” the report read.

The report commented “wounds in Dhaka got deeper after the Bengal irrigation department’s plans to complete two canals under the Teesta Barrage Project came to light”.

 The spokeswoman said Dhaka would determine its course of action to resolve the issue after getting response from the New Delhi.

 “We will (however) keep on our efforts to resolve any emerging dispute with New Delhi through dialogue in view of the excellent bilateral relations,” the spokeswoman said.

She, however, said Dhaka would determine its course of action to resolve the issue after getting response from the New Delhi but added the issue could also be discussed at UN Water Conference next month in New York.

She said Dhaka remained engaged with New Delhi since long to sign the long-awaited Teesta water sharing treaty.

The Indian newspaper also noted that over the past few years, Dhaka repeatedly communicated to Delhi its discomfort at the delay in concluding the Teesta agreement.

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