New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and offered to share water from the smaller Torsa river instead of Teesta river water.
“I suggested we can think of a Torsa water sharing formula and requested the Centre and Bangladesh government to form a joint river committee to find ways on how to share Torsa River,” Mamata told reporters in Delhi after her meeting with Hasina at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
"The fact is there is no water in Teesta. Due to water scarcity the NTPC power plant has been closed. Not only Bangladesh, even we are facing irrigation based problems,” she said.
During the meet Mamata is learnt to have stressed upon the fact that West Bengal needs water for irrigation and drinking purposes and pointed out that during the summer Teesta becomes almost becomes dry.
The 358 km long Torsa River rises from the Chumbi Valley in Tibet, where it is known as Machu. It then flows into Bhutan, where it is known as the Amo Chu, before reaching West Banegal. About 113 km of the river is in China and 145 km in Bhutan.
Mamata has always expressed her unwillingness to share Teesta water with Bangladesh. Teesta is a rain-fed river with an average annual flow of 60 BCM. During lean season from April to June the average flow dips to 6 BCM in the low lying areas of North Bengal and Bangladesh.
This makes a 50:50 water-sharin ratio difficult to maintain for Bengal. Also, the catchment area in India is higher compared to that in Bangladesh.Sources said Mamata explained all these issues to Hasina before gifting the Bangladeshi premier a Baluchari Saree and inviting her to West Bengal.