New Delhi/Dhaka: Teesta water sharing and
review of the Ganga treaty are some of the issues expected to
come up when India-Bangladesh Joint River Commission (JRC)
meets here tomorrow after a gap of five years during which the
two sides will also try to iron out differences on other
The Indian side will be led by Water Resources
Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal while Bangladeshi delegation will
be headed by Ramesh Chandra Sen in the two-day deliberations
of the ministerial-level Commission. The Commission had last
met in 2005.
"The focus of the meeting would on Teesta water
sharing. At present, Bangladesh receives almost all the water
as it is not being used by India but after the on-going
construction of a barrage on the river is completed, some
water will be utilised by us as well," Water Resources
Secretary U N Panjiyar told agency.
Other issues, to be taken up, may include review of
the 1996 Ganga Treaty and information sharing of the flood
forecast data, he said.
A 16-member Bangladesh delegation led by Sen arrived
here earlier in the day to attend the JRC meeting.
Bangladesh Water Resources Secretary Sheikh Mohammad
Wahid-Uz Zaman has said his country expected to reach an
understanding at least for an interim deal ensuring equal
shares of Teesta waters this time while the two countries
would be able to resolve water sharing of all the common
rivers one by one.
However, India has ruled out any such interim
arrangement with officials maintaining that "water is a state
subject. We want the state government to decide on the issue
Sources in the Water Resources Ministry said while
Bangladesh wants to have water sharing on 50-50 basis
available at Gazoldoba -- the only release point of Teesta
river water to Bangladesh-- India is yet to take a final call
on the issue as much will depend on West Bengal government.
The two sides will also try to thrash out differences
on the system to be adopted to decide on the actual
availability of water in the river.
"There are differences on the modalities to find out
the actual availability on a particular date. We have to have
convergence of views," the officials said.
The meeting comes following the visit of Bangladesh
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January this year
during which the two countries had agreed on concluding the
Teesta river sharing talks at the earliest.
"Recognising the sufferings of the people of both
sides in the face of scarcity of lean season flows of the
Teesta River, the Prime Ministers expressed that the
discussions on the sharing of the Teesta waters between India
and Bangladesh should be concluded expeditiously.
"The two Prime Ministers directed their respective
Water Resources Ministers to convene the Ministerial-level
meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission in the first quarter of
2010," a joint statement issued during the visit had said.
Besides Teesta, the 37th JRC meeting was also expected
to discuss the sharing of the waters of Feni, Manu, Muhuri,
Khowai, Gumti, Dharala and Dudhkumar rivers.
The Commission is the highest forum for resolution of
disputes on sharing waters of common rivers between the two
countries. The forum was constituted in 1972 with its charter
calling for holding at least two meetings every year.