Mamata urges Centre to look for alternative options to Teesta deal

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Cooch Behar (West Bengal), April 25 (IANS) Claiming that a water sharing deal on Teesta river with Bangladesh may jeopardise the daily lives of North Bengal residents, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would have no problems in providing water to the neighbouring country provided the Centre is ready to look at “suitable alternatives”.

“We have no objection in giving water to Bangladesh. But Teesta has no water. If the water is tapped from Teesta; the residents of Siliguri, Jalpaiguri won’t have water to drink, the farmers wont be able to grow crops. I know this because I have seen the situation myself,” Banerjee said here.

The Trinamool Supremo, who earlier proposed tapping the water of other rivers instead of Teesta, urged the Centre to look for suitable alternatives for water sharing.

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“We have asked them (Central government) to look for an alternative. The Shankosh river gets overflown every year. Why isn’t there a plan to tap the water from there?” she questioned.

“Tap the water from Shankosh and pass it though Torsha, Manshi, Dhanshi to Bangladesh. I have no objection,” Banerjee suggested.

Recalling her government’s initiative in solving the enclave issues with Bangladesh, Banerjee claimed the relationship with the neighbouring country would continue to remain “friendly”.

“We have solved the ‘Chitmahal’ (enclave) issue that was left disputed for 70 years and helped the erstwhile enclave dwellers to get their long awaited rights. I believe the relations between India and Bangladesh is very good and it will continue to remain that way,” Banerjee added.

Following the implementation of the historic Land Boundary Agreement, Bangladesh and India exchanged 162 adversely-held enclaves on August 1, 2015.

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