Why could Modi not reach a concrete agreement on Teesta water in 10 years, why is Hasina not able to wash away the stain of being India's puppet?

Ananya Shroff
9 Min Read
Why could Modi not reach a concrete agreement on Teesta water in 10 years, why is Hasina not able to wash away the stain of being India's puppet?


New Delhi : The dispute over the water of the Teesta river started in 1947 at the time of the partition of India. At that time, the All India Muslim League had raised the demand from the Border Commission headed by Sir Radcliffe to include Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri in the then East Pakistan. However, the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha opposed it. In view of this opposition, the Border Commission handed over most of the Teesta to India. When Bangladesh was formed in 1971, the issue of sharing the Teesta was raised again. In 1972, the India-Bangladesh Joint River Commission was formed for this. After the agreement on the water of the Ganges in 1996, the demand for sharing the water of the Teesta gained momentum, since then this issue is in controversy. Recently, 10 agreements were signed on Teesta between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who came on a visit to India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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From Manmohan to Modi, the deal is almost over

After the Ganga Agreement, a joint committee of experts was formed to study other rivers. Giving importance to Teesta, this committee presented the draft of the agreement in the year 2000. In the year 2010, both the countries approved the final draft of the agreement. During the visit of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka in the year 2011, a new formula for sharing the water of this river was agreed upon between the two countries, but due to Mamata's opposition, this agreement could not be reached. When Narendra Modi became PM in the year 2014, a year later i.e. in June 2015, he went to Bangladesh with Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. During this time, both the leaders assured Bangladesh of an agreement on the sharing of Teesta. But despite nine years having passed, the Teesta river water agreement has not been resolved yet.

Why is Haseena not able to wash away the stains with the water of Teesta?

According to Delhi University professor Rajeev Ranjan Giri, the issue of Teesta water sharing has become very important for Hasina. Bangladesh's opposition parties have been accusing Hasina of being India's puppet regarding Teesta. In such a situation, she could have washed away this stain on her by making an agreement on Teesta water. According to Rajeev Ranjan Giri, in protest against the failure to reach a Teesta agreement, the Bangladesh government had also banned the export of Hilsa fish coming from the Padma river for a long time, but Mamata did not agree. Now this agreement will reduce some of the allegations against Hasina, but the implementation of the entire agreement is still a distant dream.

PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina will discuss Teesta! China has evil eyes on the project too, will India be able to defeat the dragon?

The story of Teesta from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal

The Teesta River originates from the Himalayan peaks in Sikkim. The Teesta River originates from the Pahunri Glacier of the Himalayas, where the Kangse and Zemu glaciers melt and form the Tso Lhamo lake and flow with a gurgling sound. The Teesta is seen in its full glory near the Rangeet River near the Teesta Bazaar in Darjeeling. From there it flows into West Bengal and from here it enters Bangladesh. Later, the Teesta joins the Brahmaputra, where this river is called Jamuna. After this, it merges into the sea in the Bay of Bengal. Let us understand this dispute with the graphic given below.

Story of Teesta

Teesta river originates from the body of Goddess Parvati

According to Hindu Puranas, the Teesta River originated from the body of Goddess Parvati. Teesta means Tri-Sota i.e. a river with three sources or three flows. Many folktales of the Northeast are also associated with Teesta. This river is considered very sacred especially for the Lepcha tribe of Sikkim. In folktales, many love stories have flourished on the banks of Teesta.

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Travelling 414 km, highest flow in India

The journey of the Teesta is 414 km long, starting from the high peaks of the Himalayas in Sikkim and flowing to the Bay of Bengal. The Teesta flows 305 km in India, while it travels 109 km in Bangladesh. The Teesta travels 150 km in Sikkim, 123 km in West Bengal and about 140 km in Bangladesh. After the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna, the Teesta is the fourth largest river flowing through India and Bangladesh.

teesta bangladesh

The King of Nepal surrendered to the British

In 1815, an agreement was signed between the King of Nepal and the East India Company regarding the water of the Teesta River. The King then handed over the control of a large part of the river to the British. 12 years after the independence of Bangladesh, an agreement was signed between the two countries in 1983. 36% of the water went to Bangladesh and the rest to India. But for the last 41 years, this river has become a major issue between India and Bangladesh.

Why Teesta matters to everyone, what is the math

Delhi University professor Rajeev Ranjan Giri says that 14 percent of Bangladesh's area is dependent on the water of the Teesta river for irrigation. This provides direct employment to 7.3 percent of the population there. Teesta is very important for irrigation for the farmers of Jalpaiguri, South Dinajpur and Darjeeling in West Bengal. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee would not want to anger the farmers of North Bengal under any circumstances. On the other hand, Bangladesh is dependent on Teesta for its paddy production. About 2 crore population of Bangladesh is dependent on it.

Teesta Experts

Where is the problem in Teesta and what is the catch in it?

The flow of water in this river reduces between December and March. Due to this, fishermen and farmers in Bangladesh have to look for other employment options for a few months. On the other hand, the West Bengal government says that it cannot give more water of Teesta to Bangladesh from its barrage. Actually, Bangladesh wants rights over 50 percent of the water of Teesta. Whereas India itself wants to use 55 percent of the river's water. Rajiv Ranjan says that if there was a concrete agreement on the Teesta river, then West Bengal would not have been able to use its water as per its wish. That is why Mamata keeps a distance from any such concrete agreement. This is a political issue. That is why she has also expressed her displeasure after the recent agreement.

Why is China interested in Teesta?

Actually, China is working with the aim of encircling India. It has made strategic agreements with Pakistan, Nepal and even Sri Lanka around India. China had shown interest in managing the Teesta river. It is waiting for the green signal from Bangladesh. This project of China is very close to India's strategically important 'Chicken Neck' in the Northeast region. Chicken Neck (Siliguri Corridor) is like a narrow corridor about 28 km long located in West Bengal, which connects the northeastern states of India with the rest of India. This is the reason why India wants to keep China away from this area. Sheikh Hasina is going to visit Beijing in July. Before that, India has won a big battle by making this agreement with Hasina.

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