A month after prime minister Shiekh Hasina wanted her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and chief minister Mamata Banerjee to take a proactive role in signing the Indo-Bangla Teesta water treaty, Mamata flagged her concern over the falling draught of the Atrai river flowing into Bengal from Bangladesh due to the construction of a dam at Mohanpur.
The chief minister raised the issue at a public meeting in India’s South Dinajpur where people have been hit hard by the drying up of the river at the Bengal end, reports The Times of India.
She promised to take up the issue with the Centre and Bangladesh after holding an administrative meeting in the district. "I know that water shortage in Atreyi river has assumed serious proportions. I've asked the district magistrate and chief secretary to give me the detailed report. I'll take up the issue to Centre as it is an international issue," the chief minister said.
Environment activists under an NGO, Dishari Sankalpa, began the "Save Atreyi" project in 2015, the Indian newspaper adds.
Apart from signature campaign and letters to state and central governments, it has involved thousands of students and common people.
Local Trinamool member of parliament Arpita Ghosh took up the issue to parliament. "Arpita told me when she raised the issue in Parliament she was told to contact the state govt. But how can state govt raise the issue to Bangladesh bypassing the Centre?" the CM said.
However, Mamata didn't miss out to take on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre on development issues. "Demonetisation has resulted in decline of agricultural growth. Only our state stood beside those who had lost jobs following demonetisation. Centre not only deprives us of our share but has stopped giving money even for integrated plans for Maoists dominated area. Even fund was not allotted for the modernisation of police."
She also took a dig at the BJP's bid to drive a wedge among people on religious lines. "BJP is out to unleash violence and kill people. It won't work in Bengal," the CM said.