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Centre denies Mamata's claim of not including Bengal in talks over water sharing with Bangladesh

The representatives of the West Bengal government did take part in the review of the 1996 India-Bangladesh Ganges Water Treaty between October 2023 and May 2024, a source in New Delhi said.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 18:50 IST

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New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress has opposed New Delhi’s move to renew the 1996 India-Bangladesh treaty for the sharing of water of the Ganges, but its government in West Bengal was part of the process for the review of the pact and preparation for negotiations with the neighbouring country for a new deal.

The representatives of the West Bengal government did take part in the review of the 1996 India-Bangladesh Ganges Water Treaty between October 2023 and May 2024, a source in New Delhi said. The TMC government also conveyed to the Centre the drinking water and industrial water requirements to be considered while negotiating a new agreement.

A day after prime ministers of India and Bangladesh, Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, met in New Delhi and announced the constitution of a joint technical committee to start negotiations for the renewal of the 1996 bilateral treaty on the Ganges, the TMC, which is in power in West Bengal, alleged that its government in the state was not consulted. The TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, herself, publicly conveyed her opposition to the move by New Delhi.

Banerjee also wrote to Modi conveying her displeasure over the Centre’s move to start talks for the renewal of the India-Bangladesh treaty without consulting the state government.

A source in New Delhi, however, said that the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti had on July 24, 2023, constituted a committee for carrying out an internal review of the India-Bangladesh treaty and all the stakeholders, including the governments of Bihar as well as West Bengal, were included in the committee. The Government of West Bengal nominated its representative to the committee on August 25, 2023.

The internal committee has held four meetings so far on August 22, 2023, October 30, 2023, March 15, 2024 and May 31, 2024. It submitted its final report on June 14, 2024, which is under examination by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, said the source. The Government of West Bengal has been represented by either the Joint Secretary, Irrigation & Waterways Department, or by the Chief Engineer (Design & Research), Irrigation and Waterways Department in three of the four meetings.

On April 5, 2024, a communication was also received by the Ministry of Water Resources from West Bengal indicating its drinking water and industrial water requirements for inclusion in the Treaty beyond 2026. This requirement was reiterated by the West Bengal government’s representative, who participated in the last meeting of the committee held on May 31, 2024.

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Published 25 June 2024, 14:41 IST

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