China serious about implementing Teesta Project: Chinese envoy

He also said China found the project very important after Bangladesh formally proposed it.


Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming. Photo: Collected

October 14, 2022

DHAKA – China is serious about implementing the Teesta River Comprehensive Management Project but also has a sense of reluctance due to the sensitive issues surrounding it, said Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming today (October 13, 2022).

He said China found the project very important after Bangladesh formally proposed it.

“But I have to be frank… that Chinse side is a bit reluctant about this project. The reason is the sensitivity we sensed,” Jiming said at a seminar on “National Image of China in Bangladesh” organised by the Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS) at a city hotel.

The Chinese envoy said if China decides to go ahead with the project and then Bangladesh decides otherwise after someone’s suggestions that “it is again another case of the Chinese debt trap, or there is particular geopolitical sensitivity”, it will put him in a very awkward position.

In July 2020, the Ministry of Water Resources sought a US$983 million loan from China to implement the project, in a letter to Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division. The Bangladesh government will bear 15% of the total project cost (about US$130 million).

The project involves dredging the river for navigability, building strong embankments, townships, industries on the two sides of the river, water reservoir and irrigation.

Most of the 111,000 hectares of irrigable land in the Teesta basin in Bangladesh cannot be cultivated during the dry season. In 2013-14, only 35% of the total irrigable area was cultivated, according to officials concerned.

The signing of Teesta water sharing deal could not be signed though it was ready in 2011 due to opposition from Indian Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Jiming visited the Teesta River in Rangpur on October 9 as he wanted to make sure if local government and people wanted the project.

“Fortunately, all the messages that I got from that trip are extremely positive,” he said, adding that he will send a message to his colleagues in Beijing that the people were eager about the project – something that will help build confidence among the Chinese officials.

scroll to top