Soni meets Mamata on 'Teesta deal'

The central government minister, however, refuses to disclose whether the two talked on the issue of Teesta waters.
Published : 16 Sept 2011, 07:25 AM
Updated : 16 Sept 2011, 07:25 AM
Dhaka, Sep 16 (—Central government minister Ambika Soni has met the West Bengal chief minister in an apparent bid to resolve differences over the Teesta water-sharing pact.
Assigned by prime minister Manmohan Singh, Soni met Mamata Banerjee on Friday at Kolkata, Zee News said, quoting a report of the official Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
Addressing the media, the information and broadcasting minister said that she had not come to the city to mollify the alliance partner, the report said.
Soni, however, refused to disclose whether the two talked on the issue of Teesta waters.
Earlier, national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon had been engaging with Mamata on behalf of New Delhi. His failure to make any headway has prompted Manmohan to assign Soni to persuade the West Bengal chief.
The deal to share water of the Teesta was not signed during Manmohan's Sept 6-7 visit to Dhaka due to Mamata's opposition. Mamata had cancelled her planned trip to Dhaka as she was supposed to accompany Manmohan.
Mamata reportedly objected to some points of the planned agreement as she felt it would hurt the interests of her state.
Manmohan said India's inability to sign the deal was 'unfortunate.'
Meanwhile, Dhaka still hopes that the deal would be signed within three months and blames India for the failure.
The two countries also failed to sign a letter of consent regarding transit, as Bangladesh apparently refrained from making the deal due to the failure of the Teesta agreement.
Soni reiterated, "There is no animosity between us. We keep all alliance partners in loop on any key decisions."
Government sources said Soni and Banerjee have old association and the Union Minister personally had "great adulation" for the Trinamool Congress leader, according to the PTI.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher