Against the backdrop of differences between India and Bangladesh over calculating availability of water in Teesta River, Water Resources Ministers of the two countries will meet here next week under the aegis of the Joint River Commission.
Water Resources Ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal will have talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Ramesh Chandra Sen to discuss the Teesta River water sharing.
Sources in the Water Resources Ministry said while Bangladesh wants to have water sharing on 50-50 basis available at Ghazal Doba — 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.
“Water is a State subject. We want the State Government to decide on the issue first,” said an official.
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 last time the Joint River Commission (JRC) had met was in 2005.
Ahead of the JRC meeting, Water Resources Secretaries are likely to meet to do the ground work for the ministerial-level talks.
This will be the first visit to India by the Bangladesh Water Resources Minister since the Sheikh Hasina government came to power in January 2009.
During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in January this year, 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.
The Joint River Commission was established by India and Bangladesh in the Indo-Bangladeshi Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Peace signed in 1972.
As per the treaty, the two countries established the Commission to work for the common interests and sharing of water resources, irrigation, floods and cyclones control.