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Bangla push for Teesta

Dhaka, Aug. 24 (PTI): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged India to sign “as soon as possible” the Teesta agreement, renewing the request during a meeting with India’s junior external affairs minister V.K. Singh here.

“The Teesta water sharing deal should be inked as soon as possible as Bangladesh needs more water in the lean period (December to March),” Hasina’s press secretary A.K.M. Shameem Chowdhury quoted her as telling Singh, who had called on the Bangladeshi leader last night at her residence.

Hasina also hoped India would implement the land boundary agreement (LBA), signed three years ago but yet to be ratified by Parliament.

Singh is the second minister to tour Bangladesh since the Narendra Modi government came to power in May. His boss, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, had travelled to Dhaka in June, and said the government was trying to reach an “internal consensus” on the Teesta agreement.

The deal was set to be inked during then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in 2011 but was postponed at the last minute because of objections from Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Teesta’s waters are crucial for irrigation in Bangladesh, especially during the lean period when the flow often dwindles to less than 1,000 cusecs from the usual 5,000 cusecs.