State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Farooque on Friday said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on interim water sharing of Kushiyara river will be signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India scheduled for September first week.
He said the agreed draft of the MoU has been sent to the Indian Cabinet to complete the procedures before the signing.
“We firmly believe that the MoU will be signed when our Prime Minister will be visiting India,” the State Minister told reporters at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport after returning from New Delhi.
He led the Bangladesh delegation at the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting held in New Delhi on Thursday. The JRC meeting was held after a pause of 12 years.
Zahid informed that India has agreed to provide 153 cusec water of Kushiyara river to Bangladesh.
Responding to a question, the State Minister said the agreement on the Teesta water sharing remained prepared but its signing is getting delayed due to the objection of the Chief Minister of West Bengal.
“We kept them under pressure. We firmly believe that we will soon see a solution to that end,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s repeated call for concluding the long-pending Teesta water sharing deal.
At the 38th ministerial level JRC meeting, the two countries discussed “issues related to water-sharing treaties” of various rivers, including Teesta and Ganga.
Both sides at the meeting also welcomed finalization of the design and location of water intake point on the Feni River to meet the drinking water needs of Sabroom town in Tripura as per the October 2019 Bangladesh-India MoU on this subject.
One of the important areas of cooperation, where India has been assisting Bangladesh, is sharing of real time flood data.
India has recently extended the period of flood data sharing beyond 15 October to help Bangladesh address unforeseen flood events.
Read: Dhaka, Delhi finalise text of MoU on interim water sharing of Kushiyara river
Bangladesh and India share 54 rivers, of which seven rivers have been identified earlier for developing the framework of water sharing agreements on priority.
During the meeting, it has been agreed to widen this area of ongoing cooperation by including eight more rivers for data exchange.
The matter will be further discussed at the technical level committee of JRC.
The discussions during the JRC meeting were held on a number of ongoing bilateral issues of mutual interest including river water sharing of common rivers, sharing of flood data, addressing river pollution, conducting joint studies on sedimentation management, river bank protection works etc.
The JRC meeting was preceded by water resources secretary-level interaction on Tuesday.
The Joint Rivers Commission of Bangladesh and India was constituted in 1972 as a bilateral mechanism to address issues of mutual interest on common transboundary rivers.