After four day diplomatic visit to India, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Dipu Moni briefed the jounalists yesterday at her ministry and said that the both governments are trying to sign a package deal on diffirent bilateral issues which are pending for long days. As per this package deal, the following issues could be solved through signing a a package agreement between Bangaldesh and India by next December during Inda visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
WATER SHARING OF TEESTA RIVER
During dry season, the river Teesta faces water crunch as India has constructed Gozaldoba Barrage in the upstream and divert water from the common river that enters greater Rangpur region of Bangladesh. Bangladesh and India had dialogues on sharing of water of the Teesta for years. According to Bangladesh Water Development Board, Bangladesh’s Teesta barrage (first phase) in the downstream covers irrigation of 750,000 hectares of land.
During the press briefing the Foreign Minister “We discussed and agreed to sign a deal on sharing water of the river Teesta. Both the sides agreed to expedite the ongoing negotiation process so that a treaty is signed soon.” She also hoped that the agreement would be inked soon after the joint hydrological observation team comprising experts from Bangladesh and India prepared the draft on water availability and other related issues.
On the controversial Tipaimukh dam, the foreign minister said the Indian premier and ministers gave assurance that India would not do anything that can be harmful to Bangladesh.
An extradition treaty will be added at this agreement. As per the agreement, Indian citizens sentenced in Bangladesh would be able to finish their rest of the jail terms in India if they apply to Bangladesh government. This goes vice versa for Bangladeshi prisoners in India.
Bangladesh would have transit link to Nepal and Bhutan as per the latest agreement with India. In return, India would be allowed to use Ashuganj port for only transporting sophisticated machinery to Tripura to set up a power plant there, she said. Dipu Moni said India would sell Bangladesh 100 megawatts of electricity “on priority basis” after connecting the power grids of the two countries.
Verbal assurance on Tipaimukh Dam is not sufficient, it should be written as agreement. Pakistan is going to build a multi-millions dollar dam `Bunji Hydroelectric Project’ at Astore district located at controversial Jammu and Kasmir Region. Indian Government is protesting it while they are doing same at Tipaimukh Dam. The people of South Asia should come up with these issues for developing a common recommendations on water, transit and extradition along with trade and South Asian Security. The discussion of package deal between Bangladesh and India could provide us an opportunity to connect the South Asian People in a common platform for pressuring the government to resolve these long waited issues among the countries. We should do it.