Teesta water deal an optimistic beginning: Bangladeshi daily

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DHAKA - The 15-year framework deal Bangladesh and India have reached on sharing the Teesta river water marks “an optimistic beginning”, a Bangladeshi newspaper has said, calling for its early signing by the political leadership.

Calling for “a substantive follow up”, the Daily Star said in its editorial Wednesday: “The Teesta deal is definitely a foundation on which further cooperation can be forged, especially on sharing of the waters of the Dharla, Dudhkumar, Manu, Khowai, Gumti and Muhuri rivers.”

Top officials of the two South Asian neighbours “removed differences” over the sharing of the Teesta, one of the major river systems, leaving out “some fine tuning” and formal signing when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits here later this year.

Like scores of other major rivers, Teesta was crucial for the well-being of the people and the economic development of the region, the newspaper said, praising the two sides for ending what has been a contentious issue since 1952.

The editorial noted that Teesta water flow comes down to 5,000 to 6,000 cusecs during the summer months, while the requirement for Bangladesh and India during that period is 8,000 cusecs and 21,000 cusecs respectively.

“It is an issue that needs careful handling. The expectation is that the ministerial level talks as well as the meeting of the two prime ministers will be able to tide over such problems.”

Many river systems flowing from China make both India and Bangladesh lower riparian nations. Bangladesh has been seeking pacts on sharing of all rivers as they dry up during the summer months. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had in her earlier tenure, signed the Ganga Water Treaty in 1996.

Bangladesh and India Monday said they have “removed all differences” and agreed on a framework regarding a 15-year interim water-sharing treaty of two common rivers - Teesta and Feni - during the dry season.

The announcement came at a joint news briefing following day-long secretary-level talks of the Joint River Commission (JRC) on sharing the water of common rivers.

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