India has assured Bangladesh of taking decisions regarding the implementation of Teesta water-sharing treaty and a number of other bilateral issues after the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal and Assam.
There has also been progress on the issue of bringing water from the River Kushiyara to the Rahimpur Pump House in Zakiganj of Sylhet for the purpose of irrigation, Kabir bin Anwar, senior secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources, said at a press conference at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Wednesday.
He had just returned from India after attending a water-resources secretary level meeting.
Kabir went on to say the issue of conducting a joint survey in the wake of the depleting water level in the River Mahananda was also discussed at the meeting.
Replying to a reporter's question, he said, "Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come to the country as a guest on the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and golden jubilee of the country's independence. Moreover, elections in West Bengal and Assam are ahead. So, at this moment and in such an atmosphere, I don't think there will be anything about the agreement."
Mentionable, a secretary level meeting was held between Bangladesh and India in August 2019.
Although the Indian water resources secretary was invited for the meeting last year, it was delayed due to the epidemic. Finally, the meeting was held on Tuesday in New Delhi.
Mentioning that the two countries have agreed to save rivers, Kabir said, "The natural flow of the rivers must be ensured in the first place. Then comes the issue of distribution of water.
"Surveys, inspections, data collections etc will be done jointly to bridge the gap between the two countries. A framework agreement in this regard will be inked soon. The 54 common rivers will be discussed in phases."
Sharing of Teesta water has been an issue of discord in bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India.
The two South Asian neighbours countries were on the verge of signing the Teesta water sharing deal in 2011 during the visit of the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka. However, the efforts failed due to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's last-minute opposition.
Hopes were renewed when Mamata Banerjee came to Dhaka in February 2015, as upon arrival she said, "Have trust on me on the Teesta issue... I will have talks on the matter with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." Despite her reassurances, she continues to flip-flop on her stance on the share Bangladesh should get.
Again during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015, Mamata accompanied the delegation and both sides were expecting that the Teesta agreement would be signed that time. Even though the central government of India accepted the new arrangement between the two countries, the West Bengal chief minister did not.
Subsequently, the treaty could not be signed despite Prime Minister Modi saying, "Rivers should nurture the India-Bangladesh relationship and not become a source of discord".