Continuing to voice her opposition to sharing Teesta waters with Bangladesh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed that the river had dried up and if its water had to be shared, the people and the farmers in the region would not get a drop. “There is no water in the Teesta. If we share its water, then the people of Siliguri, Jalpaiguri will not get water and the farmers will not be able to carry out agricultural activities…I am saying this because I have seen it,” she said while addressing a rally here this afternoon.
But, Banerjee said, she had no objection to sharing waters with Bangladesh as such and referred to her proposal of sharing the waters of the Torsa and the Manshai rivers, on which, she said there should be a discussion. The chief minister added two more rivers to the list today — the Sankosh and the Dhansai.
“Water from the Sankosh river causes floods…why do not you (Centre) do some planning about that. Go take water from it. There are the Torsa, the Manshai and the Dhansai rivers. Take water from them…We do not have any problem,” she said.
“I love the people of Bangladesh…They want water and we do not have any objection to it. We can share water from a source which has it. But, we cannot share it from a source which does not have water. I have already put forward an alternative proposal in this regard,” said Banerjee.
She referred to her agreeing to the creation of border enclaves for a peaceful exchange of people, saying nobody had to push her for that and she completed a job that was “not done for the last 70 years”.
“We have created the chitmahals. Nobody had to tell me to do th at. The people of that area demanded for the chitmahals and we did what was not done in 70 years. I personally went to the area. We have returned the rights of the people living there. Those from Bangladesh have returned to their country and the Indians have come back to India. We have provided them with everything from food to houses,” said the TMC supremo.
She said earlier, water from the Farakka barrage had been shared with Bangladesh and criticised the Centre for “not honouring its promise” of providing funds for the barrage which dried up.
“We had shared water from Farakka…So many villages had gone under the water. The Centre had promised funds for Farakka, but they have not been released till date. Now, the barrage has dried up. The Kolkata port too has dried up. Dredging was not even done once,” said Banerjee.
She alleged that Bangladesh was planning to block the passage of water by erecting a dam on the Atreyee river and requested the government of the neighbouring country to re-think its decision as it would affect the people of Balurghat in Dakshin Dinajpur district of West Bengal.
“I will request the Bangladeshi government not to come up with a dam on the Atreyee river, because the people of Balurghat are not getting water,” she said.
The Atreyee river flows through West Bengal as well as the northern parts of Bangladesh.
The chief minister said both India and Bangladesh shared a good relation and that should continue.
“The two countries will work for each other. I love my West Bengal and Bangladesh. I do not make discrimination, but I have to look at West Bengal also,” she said.