NEW DELHI: India has agreed to host the much-awaited meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) in the last week of August ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi in early September.
India has proposed holding the secretary-level talks of the JRC in New Delhi on August 23-25.
After the ministers’ talks, the framework agreement on Teesta water sharing for 15 years was finalised at a secretary-level meeting in January 2011. But till today no final agreement was signed for sharing the river water as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vetoed the agreement.
Dhaka has recently requested New Delhi officially to hold the JRC meeting prior to the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It is not clear whether the Teesta water-sharing deal will be finalised this time though Mamata is in Delhi and meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Whenever Modi meets her Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, he reiterates India's sincere commitment and continued efforts in this regard.
In the upcoming JRC meeting, both sides may discuss the completion of framework of interim agreement sharing the water of six joint rivers namely Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
Dhaka has already requested India to inform its border authorities to allow excavation work on the remaining portion of Rahimpur Khal for utilisation of Kushiyara River water for irrigation purpose.
At a meeting of Joint Consultative Commission held in New Delhi in June, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “We share 54 rivers. Comprehensive management of rivers and their conservation as well as the shared environment responsibility that we have especially the Sundarbans. These are really areas that we need to work together as part of our commitments to climate action."
The upcoming JRC meeting might focus on these areas as told by informed sources.