Thursday, October 6, 2011

High On Hype, Low On Results

THE government had brought the issue of transit and Teesta under spotlight to give some visibility to its ‘successes’ but the move was so weak and immature that it resulted in utter failure and left no space for the government to clarify it before people, observed the general secretary of Bangladesher Samajtanrik Dal, Khalequzzman.

In an interview with New Age over his assessment of the recent Indo-Bangla summit in Dhaka, Khalequzzman said the year-long hype by the government, either in order to place importance on Manmohan’s trip or to prove a success of the Awami League government, created the impression among people that something was going to be happening in Indo-Bangla relations. But the summit ending yielded almost nothing and it would continue to pinch in the shoes of the rulers.

Khalequzzman said the government stumbled in dealing with the Teesta issue due to its attempt to ink the deal, keeping everything in secret.

He said the draft prepared for the Teesta deal was faulty too. ‘Sharing of Teesta water is very important but the way they had planned for discussion would deprive Bangladesh. They planned to discuss sharing of water found at Gazaldoba point but the primary discussion should be on ensuring the natural flow of the river and keep it alive, then negotiations could be held over water sharing. The government did not concentrate on it, ignored homework and did not even consult the experts in the true sense,’ he said.

He sharply criticised the government’s role over the discussions centring transit. ‘The advantages or disadvantages of India in no way can be the sole focal point of discussion. Actually, negotiation over transit is yet to begin. Everything that is going on is centring on allowing corridor to India. There is no primary discussion on protection of Bangladesh’s total interests including protection of geo-physical characteristics and economic and security aspects in transit mapping,’ he said.

He also criticised the government’s attempt to portray the issues of transit and Teesta as complementary to each other. ‘These are different issues and can not be compared,’ he said.

On implementation of agreements and protocols signed during Manmohan’s visit including land boundary, Khalequzzman said some protocols were signed during Manmohan’s visit which were kept pending for long without any substantiated ground. ‘Now protocols on some minor issues have been signed but the way of their implementation is not so smooth.’

On the line-up credit of Tk 1 billon, Khalequzzaman said the liability and conditions of the loan meet no requirement of Bangladesh’s own needs.

BY : Abdullah Juberee and Moloy Saha.