Tagore’s birth anniversary ideal time to ink teesta deal
Even as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee skipped another opportunity to meet Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina last week, the Centre is in no hurry for a patch-up on the Teesta issue.delhi Updated: Oct 23, 2011 23:30 IST
Even as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee skipped another opportunity to meet Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina last week, the Centre is in no hurry for a patch-up on the Teesta issue.
Singh and Banerjee discussed the Teesta issue on the sidelines of the National Development Council meeting on Saturday. Top government sources told HT, the UPA brass has chalked out an eight-month schedule to resolve the Teesta water treaty logjam by taking Banerjee on board.
As per its new plan, the UPA political managers want to send Banerjee to Dhaka on Rabindranath Tagore’s birth anniversary in May 2012 and seal the Teesta deal at that time.
An invitation to take a train to Dhaka is pending before Banerjee. Last year, when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited India, Banerjee (then railway minister) had planned to ride a special train to Dhaka to commemorate Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary.
But political engagements related to the 2011 assembly election of West Bengal had forced Banerjee to stall her tour.
Banerjee has categorically told the PM that she is also interested in inking the Teesta agreement, but has constituted a committee to assess the availability of water in Teesta and will get back to the Centre with the findings.
Meanwhile, talks with Banerjee will continue through political emissaries. Information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh are the key interlocutors and the two ministers are regularly in touch with her.
When Hasina came to the Teen Bigha corridor inside West Bengal, Banerjee was not present. But she later claimed she was not properly invited by the Centre. In September, Banerjee refused to accompany the PM to Dhaka.