Ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in the first week of September, the South Block has agreed to host the much awaited Joint Rivers Commission meeting in the last week of August.
India has proposed to hold Secretary-level meeting of the JRC in New Delhi from August 23 to 25.
Depending on the outcome of the Water Resource Secretaries meeting, the 38th JRC at the level of Ministers may be held in near future. The last 37th meeting at the level of Ministers was held in December 2010.
After which the framework agreement on Teesta river water sharing for 15 years was finalised at the Secretary level meeting in January of 2011. But till today no final agreement was signed for sharing of Teesta River Water as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee vetoed the agreement.
Dhaka has recently officially requested New Delhi to hold JRC meeting prior to the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
This time whether Teesta water sharing would be finalised or not is not clear. Though West Bengal Chief Minister is in Delhi and meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi whenever meets her Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina reiterates India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts of Government in this regard.
In the upcoming JRC both sides may take up for completion of framework of interim agreement of waters of six joint rivers ,namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
Dhaka has already requested to inform India’s concerned authority to allow excavation work of the remaining portion of the Rahimpur Khal for utilization of Kushiyara river water for irrigation purpose.
India also made it an issue to provide early concurrence on the proposed MOU to be signed between the two countries for monitoring withdrawal of water from the Kushiyara river by the both sides , pending signing of the agreement regarding the sharing of water of the Kushiyari river.
In the month of June in the Joint commission meeting External Affairs Minister Dr S Jayshankar clearly said, “We share 54 rivers. Comprehensive Management of rivers and their conservation as well as the shared environment responsibility that we have especially the Sundarbans. These are really areas that we need to work together as part of our commitments to climate action.” The upcoming JRC might focus on these areas as told by informed sources.