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Sunday, February 22, 2015, Falgun 10, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 2, 1436 Hijr

Think about solutions, not problems
Mamata tells business leaders
Published : Sunday, 22 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 23
Staff Correspondent
Paschimbanga Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday assured Bangladeshi businesses that all of the problems prevailing between Bangladesh and India including land boundary agreement (LBA) and the Teesta River water sharing will be solved in future.
Boosting hope of settling outstanding bilateral issues, she suggested both Bangladesh and India, "Think about the solutions, not about the problems."
The Paschimbanga Chief Minister made the call while addressing a special business session with the Bangladeshi and West Bengal business leaders held at Hotel Sonargaon in the city on Saturday, the last day of her three-day Dhaka visit and the first as West Bengal Chief Minister.
India-Bangladesh bilateral chamber, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (IBCCI), and Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) jointly organised the interactions with the business community.
Bangladesh's business leaders pointed out some non-tariff barriers, infrastructure bottlenecks and warehouse problem at the bordering area of the country that they said stood in the way of increasing their exports.
They also raised the unresolved issues of ratifying land-boundary agreement (LBA) and inking Teesta water sharing deal that could not be signed four years back due to her dispute.
Mamata said assuring the business leaders that she has already given her nod to Delhi for the LBA ratification. She has also indicated her support for resolving the Teesta issue during her interactions in Dhaka.
She once again urged all "not to worry" about the problems as she found lot of similarities and very little difference between the two neighbours.
"India-Bangladesh relations are based on history and emotions and not on just give and take", Mamata said adding, "The neighbouring two countries, Bangladesh and India, are only outer cover. Actually, we have no difference in culture, thought and heritages. We can achieve lots of things by working together. So, let us work together."
She said, "We love each other in a way that there is no difference between India and Bangladesh."
Urging the investors to invest at media and cinema sector, Mamata Banerjee proposed opening joint business television channels to promote trade and business between Bangladesh and India.
"You can open a business channel jointly. We'll welcome it," she told said.
The Paschimbangla Chief Minister also claimed that there is no commercial barrier to operation of Bangladeshi TV channels in India. ATN Bangla and Boishakhi TV channels are being shown in India commercially.
The Paschimbangla government will help Bangladeshi entrepreneurs if they take initiative to operation of Bangladeshi channels in India commercially, she assured while replying a query.
Regarding strengthening the business relationship with the country, Mamata said, "It would be better to form a bilateral business committee comprising the ministers and businessmen of the two countries. It may strengthen the relation between the two countries."
"I will solve your problems at our country if you have to face any. At the same time, you will have to solve ours if we face any problems in Bangladesh. The committee would work as a bridge in this connection," she said indicating Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
She also urged the Bangladeshi businessmen to join the joint industry summit to be held in India on March 13-14.
The Chief Minister also responded positively to establish a South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Fund to assist the businessmen of the region and strengthen the relationship.
The business leaders, in their speech, proposed the Chief Minister to take steps on establishing a SAARC fund.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed urged the Chief Minister to take steps on ratifying the LBA, signing the Teesta deal and resolving the tariff and non-tariff barriers in the country to enter Bangladeshi products soon.
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran said the Chief Minister's visit will open a new chapter in Bangladesh-India relations. I have no doubt about that.
He laid emphasis on building a good and productive partnership between the people of the two countries.
FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, IBCCI Adviser Abdul Matlub Ahmed, IBCCI President Mohammad Ali and ICC President Roopen Roy, among others, spoke at the function.
Mamata Banerjee arrived in Dhaka on Thursday on a three-day visit to strengthen ties between Bangladesh and West Bengal, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the settlement of Teesta water sharing pact and ratification of the land boundary agreement.
Mamata is leading a 39-member delegation with an aim of increasing trade and investment between West Bengal and Bangladesh. Two senior ministers of her government also accompanied her.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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