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Will be left with no water to drink if Teesta water is shared with Bangladesh, says Mamata

INDWill be left with no water to drink if Teesta water is shared with Bangladesh, says Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File
| Photo Credit: PTI

Expressing concern over the threat of floods in north Bengal as several rivers, including the Teesta, were flowing in full spate, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee once again reiterated her opposition to sharing Teesta waters with Bangladesh. Such a sharing arrangement would leave no water for the people of north Bengal, she added.

Ms. Banerjee said that it was unfortunate that the Centre did not involve the West Bengal government in the water-sharing discussion with Bangladesh. “One should not estimate the water in the river during summer looking at the situation in the rainy reason,” she said.

The Chief Minister questioned the Centre’s decision to construct multiple hydel power projects on river Teesta in Sikkim. “In Sikkim, there are 14 hydel power projects on the river,” she pointed out.

The Trinamool Congress chairperson claimed that after Bangladesh and China set up a dam on the river Atrayee, the river’s water dried up in West Bengal. The river flows through Dakshin Dinajpur district of the State.

These comments by the Chief Minister came almost two weeks after Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited India. During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that a technical team would soon visit Bangladesh to discuss the conservation and management of the Teesta river in Bangladesh. Ms. Banerjee had written a letter to Mr. Modi on her concerns over sharing the river’s waters with the neighbouring country.

Also read | West Bengal not consulted on water pact with Bangladesh: Trinamool Congress

During the administrative meeting at the State Secretariat on Monday, the Chief Minister called for round-the-clock monitoring of the situation. She added that nine flood shelters have been opened in Jalpaiguri, providing relief to 500 people.

Ms. Banerjee noted that the State had to bear the brunt of rainfall in adjoining States and despite spending crores on repair of embankments, there was no respite yet to the people of the State.

She demanded that the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) inform the State before releasing water from its dams in south Bengal.

“Problems arise if a huge quantity of water is released at one go,” she said, calling for a staggered release of water from the dams will be helpful. She emphasised that dredging should be carried out at the reservoir so that they can hold more water.

Ms. Banerjee directed the State’s Chief Secretary to speak to authorities of the Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway, Northeast Frontier Railway and Metro Railway to ensure there was no waterlogging on railway premises during the monsoon season.

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