08 Sep Teesta Dispute
Why in the news?:
Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh Prime Minister, recently came to Delhi for a 4-day visit. Solving the long-standing, unresolved dispute over the sharing of the waters of the Teesta is back in the news.
About Teesta river:
- Water sharing of the Teesta river, which originates in the Himalayas and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal to merge with the Brahmaputra in Assam and (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh), was one the most contentious issue between two friendly neighbors, India and Bangladesh.
- The river covers nearly the entire floodplains of Sikkim while draining 2,800 sq km of Bangladesh, governing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
|Districts||Kurigram District, Nilphamari District,
Gangtok District, Pakyong District,
Mangan District, Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling district, Cooch Behar district, and
|City||Singtam, Rangpo, Kalimpong,
|Source||Pauhunri, Zemu Glacier, Gurudongmar Lake, Tso Lhamo Lake|
|• location||Sikkim, India|
|• location||Phulchhari Upazila, Gaibandha, Bangladesh|
|Length||414 km (257 mi)|
|Basin size||12,540 km2 (4,840 sq mi)|
What is the history of the Teesta dispute?
- In West Bengal, Teesta is considered the lifeline of half-a-dozen districts in North Bengal. Teesta is very important for those districts.
- Bangladesh has sought an “equitable” distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996 (an agreement to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border), but to no avail.
- In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka generated some expectations to take forward to resolve the previous issues on fair and equitable water sharing agreement.
- But Teesta remains an unfinished project, as in India individual states have significant influence over transboundary agreements. This arrangement sometimes holds back the policymaking process.
What is the recent status of the Teesta dispute between India and Bangladesh?
In 2015 when PM, Modi visited Dhaka accompanied by the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerji. There PM Modi gave Prime Minister Hasina the confidence of resolving the issue in a “fair solution” to the dispute through cooperation between the central and the state governments. But, Seven years later, the Teesta issue remains unresolved.