An Indian newspaper has reported no progress in Teesta water sharing agreement and Ganges barrage project, at least before the planned visit of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi shortly.
“On the ground, neither of these projects appear to be anywhere close to reality,” The Times of India wrote in an article titled “Mamata Banerjee-Narendra Modi war keeps Teesta water pact on hold” published on Sunday.
Referring to officials in both New Delhi and Dhaka, the newspaper said the government of India’s West Bengal state is “holding back on the negotiations”.
Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit India in March, a visit that was originally scheduled for December 2016, said the article. However, reports in Dhaka said Hasina's visit may take place in April.
Mamata, who had accompanied PM Modi during his trip in June 2015, had reportedly agreed to complete negotiations on the two big projects.
“India-Bangladesh relations run through West Bengal at the best of times. These are not the best of times, as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is on the warpath with the central government, particularly PM Narendra Modi,” noted the article.
As in the past, it mentioned, the Mamata factor “has had an impact on bilateral ties with Dhaka”.
Mamata's belief that the Teesta pact could hurt her politically has ensured it hasn't gone anywhere in the past five years, the Times obseved.
It recalled that in 2011, Mamata rained on Manmohan Singh's grand visit to Bangladesh, by refusing to agree on Teesta water sharing pact almost at the last minute.
When Modi visited Dhaka in 2015, he insisted on Banerjee coming along, who was accorded virtually head-of-government treatment by Sheikh Hasina, wrote the newspaper. Mamata had reportedly promised to work on both Teesta and the Ganges barrage.