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Didi Tells PM: Abolish Neet, Don’t Share Water With Bangladesh

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to abolish the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in wake of the paper leak and allow the state governments to conduct their respective examinations.

The Trinamul Congress supremo, in another letter to Mr Modi, also opposed any discussion on the Teesta Water Treaty and Farakka Water Treaty with Bangladesh without consulting her government.

Objecting to NEET, Ms Banerjee wrote, “…before 2017, the States were allowed to conduct their Entrance Examinations and the Central Government also used to conduct its examinations for admission into the medical courses. This system was functioning smoothly and without many problems. This was better attuned to the regional curricula and educational standards. Therefore, the State should be given freedom to select medical students through Joint Entrance Examination.”

Describing the NEET as “completely unacceptable” she pointed out, “…the present system has led to massive corruption which benefits only the rich who can afford to pay, while the meritorious students belonging to the poor and middle class suffer and are the biggest victims. Therefore, I strongly urge you to consider and take immediate steps to restore the previous system of conducting this Examination by the State Governments and abolish the NEET Examination.”

On the recent meetings on water sharing treaties during the New Delhi visit of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, the CM noted, “…water sharing issues relating to the Ganges and Teesta rivers may have been discussed during the meeting. Such unilateral deliberations and discussions without consultation and the opinion of the state government is neither acceptable nor desirable.”

“I came to understand that the Government of India is in the process of renewing the Indo-Bangladesh Farakka Treaty (1996) which is to expire in 2026. It is a Treaty which delineates the principles of sharing of water between. Bangladesh and India and as you are aware it has huge implications for the people of West Bengal for maintaining their livelihood and that the water which is diverted at the Farakka Barrage helps in maintaining the navigability of the Kolkata port.”

Ms Banerjee elaborated, “Further, it seems that sharing of Teesta water between India and Bangladesh has also been discussed in the meeting. It seems that, in the meeting, the Government of India has proposed bilateral cooperation between India and Bangladesh for the restoration of Teesta in Bangladesh. Due to reasons stated above water flow in the Teesta has gone down over the years and it is estimated that, if any water is shared with Bangladesh, lakhs of people in North Bengal will get severely impacted due to inadequate availability of irrigation water.”

She added, “Finally, it is to convey my strong reservation that no discussion on sharing of Teesta water and the Farakka Treaty should be taken up with Bangladesh without the involvement of the state government. The interest of people in West Bengal is paramount which should not be compromised at any cost.”

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