Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, during her brief visit to the Tin Bigha corridor in West Bengal on Wednesday, hoped that the Teesta water-sharing treaty with India would be signed soon.
On her first visit to the corridor after India gave her country 24-hour access to the Bangladeshi enclaves, Hasina thanked the Indian government for granting unrestricted access to the residents there to mainland Bangladesh.
India granted 24-hour access to the corridor during prime minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh in September. Prior to that, the Bangladeshi residents of the enclave could visit the mainland only between sunrise and sunset.
Tin Bigha corridor in West Bengal's Coochbehar district links the Bangladeshi enclaves of Angarpota and Dahagram and several smaller ones, with the country's mainland. About 150,000 Bangladeshis live in 51 enclaves, while Indians live in another 111 enclaves.
"Residents of these two enclaves have been waiting for 64 years to get unrestricted connection with the Bangladesh mainland," remarked Hasina. "We are grateful to the Indian government. It only validates the firm relations between the two countries."
Surprisingly, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was conspicuous by her absence when the prime minister of the neighbouring country visited her state. Banerjee had vehemently opposed the Teesta water-sharing pact with Bangladesh and had boycotted Singh's visit to the neighbouring country in September.