'Mamata softens stance on Teesta agreement
India's West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has apparently softened her stance on Teesta issue paving ways for signing a crucial deal for sharing its waters with Bangladesh, the UAE-based Gulf News reported Monday, reports BSS.
"The Indo-Bangladesh Teesta water-sharing treaty is close to being signed after long-time critic West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appeared to give the deal the go-ahead," read the report titled India and Bangladesh on verge of ending water dispute.
In an interview with the influential Middle Eastern newspaper, Banerjee, however, said "My state has nothing against Bangladesh, but we have to look into our interests also" as farmers of North Bengal (Uttar Bangla) suffer a lot due to scarcity of water.
"We have one language and one culture. The present divide is man- made and we will do everything to strengthen our relationship with Bangladesh," she told Gulf News.
Referring to unidentified "sources" the report said, Banerjee gave her 'positive signals' to the pending draft of the Teesta treaty as federal Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde sent emissaries to her ahead of his current Dhaka visit.
Shinde, it said, sought her opinion explaining "the importance of this treaty to the Indo-Bangla relationship, as relations with Pakistan worsened due to the recent border tensions".
The report recalled that though the federal government had in principle approved the treaty way back in 2011, when Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh visited Dhaka, it stalled primarily because of objections from Banerjee, who believed that the agreement was too lopsided in favour of Bangladesh and could adversely affect the interest of the farmers of Uttar Bangla.