Govt to accept most beneficial Teesta proposal for people : PM Hasina

Govt to accept most beneficial Teesta proposal for people : PM Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said her government will receive the most beneficial proposal for the country and its people over implementing the Teesta master plan project.

"We have taken Teesta projects. China and India have given separate proposals to implement the project. We must accept the proposal which will be more beneficial for the people of our country," she said.

The premier made the remarks while replying to a volley of questions regarding the outcome of her two-day state visit to India on June 21-22 in a press conference at her official Ganabhaban residence.

She said there are many proposals for the implementation of the Teesta Project.

"But, we must consider how much the project is applicable for my country, how much its return will be helpful for the welfare of the people after its completion alongside the capability to repay the loan," she said.

China has completed a physical survey while India wants to do another regarding the implementation of the Teesta project, she said.

"We will accept the survey which will be more suitable and beneficial for us," she added.

The prime minister said India expressed the desire to send a technical team in this regard, adding that Bangladesh will sit with their technical team.

She, however, said Bangladesh has a longstanding issue over Teesta River water sharing with India.

"So, it will be easy for Bangladesh if India does the Teesta project. In that case, we won’t need to talk about the Teesta water sharing always," she added.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has a longstanding issue with India over the water sharing of the 54 common rivers.

"If there is a problem, there is a solution as well," she said.

The prime minister said the Ganges water-sharing treaty will end by 2026.

"If the treaty isn't renewed by the time, it will continue (according to the provision of the treaty)," she said.

Replying to another query about a piece of news on Indian State of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's objection to the Indian government's move over the Teesta and Ganges rivers water sharing with Bangladesh bypassing her, Sheikh Hasina said she doesn’t want to make any comment over the issue as it is solely their internal matter.

But, she said she has a good relation with all the political parties in India including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee.

About balancing of relations between India and China, the premier said there is nothing to balance as her government is following the foreign policy, "Friendship to all, malice to none" in its fifth term, four in a row.

India is very important for Bangladesh as they along with the Freedom Fighters shed blood for the independence of Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971, she said.

She also said meanwhile, there are many things to learn from China about how the country to be developed.

"We maintain the relations considering all these aspects," she added.

The premier said she never interfered on what relations the two countries have.

"I work for the welfare and development of the country and people maintaining friendly relations with all," she added.

She also said she didn't see any problem with maintaining relations with India and China.

The premier said she went to New Delhi as she was first invited to visit India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi and later invited for state visit to India. Now she will visit China as that country also invited her, she added.

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, presidium members, Deputy Leader of the House Begum Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Kazi Zafarullah, Joint General Secretary and Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud and prime minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, shared the dais with the premier.

The prime minister's Press Secretary Md Nayeemul Islam Khan moderated the Press conference.

Rail connectivity
Replying to a question about rail transit to India, Sheikh Hasina said everyone should keep in mind that she does not sell Bangladesh as they liberated the country.

She said both the countries are resuming the rail connectivity among them which is beneficial for trade and commerce and socio-economic development for the two nations.

The premier said Bangladesh is an independent country and they liberated the country through the Liberation War.

Coming down heavily on those who criticise the rail connectivity saying it is an attempt to sell the country, she continued how the country is sold.

She said everyone should keep in mind that India was the only allied force in the world which left the country they helped to be liberated, with their arms and ammunition.

To this end, she said American troops of allied forces are still in Japan and Russian troops in Germany now.

"Even then, some talk about the rail issue that Bangladesh will be sold to India. How do they say this? In fact, those who talk like this are themselves sold to India," she said.

They criticise India publicly and flatter secretly, she added.

Refereeing to Europe, the premier said: "Look at Europe where there are no borders. Is one country selling itself to another country there?"

She questioned: "Will we keep our doors shut in Bangladesh?"

Replying to a query, Sheikh Hasina said she has good friendly relations with every political party and all in India.

“I’ve good friendly relations with every party and all in India,” she said.

To this end, she said, she met with President of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi, her son and daughter and BJP Senior Leader LK Advani during her visit to India on the occasion of the swearing ceremony of Narendra Modi.

In her second and state visit to India from June 21-22, she said, she met with late president of India Pranab Mukherjee's family.

The premier said she particularly has a good relationship with Sonia Gandhi and their children, and the family members of former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee.

“We have a family tie with Pranab Babu and his children. There is also a family bond between the family of Indira Gandhi and our family, which is above politics and all things,” she said.

The prime minister said the two quick and brief visits to India will enhance the bilateral relations.

"The visits will open new doors for the socio-economic development," she added.