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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Bangladesh PM urges India to seal Teesta deal

IANS  Dhaka, August 24, 2014
First Published: 13:06 IST(24/8/2014) | Last Updated: 13:15 IST(24/8/2014)

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged India to seal the Teesta water-sharing agreement, media reported Sunday.

Hasina made the call Saturday when India's minister of state for external affairs General (retd) VK Singh paid a visit at her Dhaka residence, bdnews 24 reported.

"Hasina said the Teesta water-sharing deal should be inked as soon as possible as Bangladesh needs more water in the lean period," said an official from the Bangladesh prime minister's office.

"She expressed hope that the Teesta deal will be signed soon by mutual understanding and the Land Boundary Agreement will be implemented," the official added.

The Teesta water-sharing agreement has featured in talks since the Awami League government returned to power in 2009.

Although the Congress-led government in New Delhi went ahead with the bill, it was blocked by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The constitutional amendment required to pass the land boundary bill is awaiting passage in the Lok Sabha - the lower house of Indian parliament.

The Indian minister was accompanied by Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, Tripura's industry minister Tapan Chakravarty, Meghalaya's Parliamentary secretary Kennedy Khyriem, Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran and founder president of India-Bangladesh chamber of commerce and industry Matlub Ahmad.

Hasina also urged New Delhi to give transit to Bangladesh with Nepal and Bhutan through Indian territory.

VK Singh expressed gratitude to Bangladesh for allowing Indian transports to carry rice to Tripura using the Ashuganj river port.

He said the Indian government will construct an 11-km road from Akhaura to Agartala for goods transportation.

VK Singh added that India was interested in creating an environment for increasing trade and investment between its northeastern states and Bangladesh.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keen to visit Bangladesh and it may happen soon.

VK Singh, also minister for the Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER), led a 31-member delegation from the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to attend the India-Bangladesh business conclave being held here.

Bangladesh shares a 4,096-km border with the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya.


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