No Teesta pact without Mamata’s consent: Govt

Foreign Secretary said that no pact will be signed with Bangladesh without consultations with the West Bengal government.

Last Updated: Sep 05, 2011, 16:41 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In order to persuade a sulking Mamata Banerjee, the Central government on Monday said that no Teesta water sharing accord will be signed with Bangladesh without the West Bengal Chief Minister’s consent.

Giving clarifications on the issue Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said that no pact will be signed with the neighbouring country without consultations with the West Bengal government.

The Foreign Secretary confirmed that Mamata Banerjee will not be accompanying the Prime Minister to Bangladesh which he will visit tomorrow.

Mathai also said that West Bengal CM’s absence will be a setback to the visit as she herself was very keen on the particular tour.

Meanwhile, stressing that Mamata is a “great friend”, Bangladesh has expressed disappointment over her decision to opt out of the tour.

"We will be disappointed if she does not come as she is a great friend of Bangladesh and she has a great following in this country and is a close friend of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s foreign affairs adviser Gawher Rizvi said.

The issue that has prompted her to scrap her planned visit is an internal matter of India, he said.

"But we know that even if she is unable to come tomorrow, she will visit Bangladesh very soon and a very warm welcome awaits when she arrives," Rizvi said.

Earlier, reports claimed that the Trinamool Congress chief is unhappy with the Teesta water sharing accord, which the two countries are due to sign during the Prime Minister’s visit.

The West Bengal Chief Minister believes that the Teesta water sharing will go against the interests of West Bengal.

Mamata has reportedly opposed the agreement on the grounds that there was a difference in the quantity of water sharing according to the draft and the final versions of the Teesta treaty.

According to party sources, the Chief Minister feels that Bangladesh will get far more water after the accord comes into effect than she had agreed to.

Meanwhile, demonstrations and protest against the Teesta water sharing accord have already started in the north Bengal districts of West Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.

Mamata has apparent reasons to be upset as most of the border and water settlements that India and Bangladesh are preparing to resolve, involves West Bengal directly, so her party is of the view that state`s Chief Minister should have been taken into confidence while striking a deal with Dhaka.

Earlier, when the Ganga water treaty was signed with Bangladesh, the then chief minister Jyoti Basu was consulted while working out the details.

Banerjee had expressed her displeasure over the accord by saying that the Centre went ahead with treaties with Bangladesh without consulting her even as the state is the most affected when it comes to border and water issues between the two neighbours.

At a CCPA meeting last week to discuss Bangladesh, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi had raised the issue, after which the Centre deputed National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon to Kolkata to update Banerjee of the treaties that were being worked out.

And it was decided that she would join the PM in Dhaka for his two-day trip that is expected to resolve some longstanding issues between the two countries.