Bangladesh team coming for river talks

New Delhi Sept 26. The Bangladesh delegation, arriving here on Sunday for crucial two-day talks on the sharing of river waters, has sought a meeting with the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and is to raise with him the issue of the inter-linking of common rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.

The delegation will call on the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, on October 3. It will visit the Farakka barrage and joint observation sites on the Ganges on October 1 and 2.

The team led by its Water Resources Minister, Hafiz Uddin Ahmad, will include officials from the Bangladesh High Commissioner in India during the 35th meeting of the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission on the sharing of river waters beginning Monday. The Indian side will be headed by the Water Resources Minister, Arjun Charan Sethi, and will be represented from the Ministry of External Affairs.

Bangladesh has raised with the Indian Government its "apprehensions'' on India's inter-linking project. India has assured its neighbour that the inter-linking programme was only at a "conceptual'' stage and would be implemented under international norms. India is also said to have told Bangladesh that the programme did not envisage diversion of water from the Ganges, and any diversion of water from the northern tributaries of the Brahmaputra was likely to benefit both the countries in flood control.

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