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Final Tista agreement by June 2011

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The government will finalise its bilateral agreement with India on the distribution of the Tista River water by next June, the water resources minister has said.

"The agreement will be finalised after a discussion between experts of the two countries. Discussions at diplomatic-level are going on," Ramesh Chandra Sen told reporters at his Secretariat office on Tuesday.

Earlier on Sep 12, foreign minister Dipu Moni had told reporters the government will sign the agreement on Tista within the current year.

Sen said Bangladesh currently gets around 3,000 cusecs of water from Tista; earlier, it was only 500 cusecs.

"The agreement will be signed as early as possible, preferably by next June."

Five districts of northern Bangladesh would be brought under irrigation facilities with the water, which would be received through the Tista Barrage Project, Sen said.

"Irrigation in the agricultural lands of Nilphamari and Rangpur districts is now managed by the Tista project. In the second phase, Gaibandha, Bogra and Joypurhat will be added."

According to the water resources ministry, the Bangladesh government began discussions with India for the water-sharing agreement since 1972. Both the two countries agreed on a temporary agreement during a meeting on Joint River Commission held in 1983.

However, no formal document was finalised as the countries could not reach any decision where and how the water will be distributed.

In Jan 2009, there had been a possibility to sign an agreement on Tista when prime minister Sheikh Hasina paid her official visit to India, but it did not happen.

In June last year, a draft agreement was implemented during a ministerial-level Joint River Commission meeting held in India.

Among the common and shared rivers between India and Bangladesh, there are a barrage and two hydroelectric projects in India and another barrage in Bangladesh. The construction work of Tista Barrage began in 1983 in Doani area of Hatibandha Upazila in Lalmonirhat and it ended in 1990.

During the same time, India constructed another barrage in Gazaldoba area in West Bengal, which was finished before the formal inauguration of the Bangladeshi one.

Source : bdnews

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