Staff Correspondent, Sylhet
A five-member delegation from the Indian state of Manipur and Assam yesterday urged Bangladeshi nationals--at home and abroad--to be united and protest against the much-talked-about Tipaimukh dam project.
They were addressing at a "Sanghati Samabesh" (solidarity meeting) at the seminar hall of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) yesterday afternoon.
The team reached Sylhet Sunday to express solidarity with the anti-Tipaimukh dam campaign in Bangladesh.
The delegation includes Prof RK Ranjan Sinha of Earth Science Department of Manipur Central University, environmentalists Ramananda, Joseph Marr, Vikramjit and Arnab Dutta. Engineer Muhammad Hilal Uddin, coordinator of the Jatiya Tipaimukh Bandh Protirodh Committee accompanied the team to Sylhet.
The speakers said 57 percent dams in the world responsible for environmental degradation are in India and China. Now things are to be dealt internationally because Tipai project would just wreak havoc on Bangladesh
"We are here to express our solidarity with Bangladeshi people'' said Prof Sinha. The project is not at all a viable one, he said, adding, "We want Bangladesh to sit with the Indian authorities to discuss the crucial issue. Besides, it is an issue of common rivers and India cannot make decisions alone.
A documentary on the protests against Tipaimukh project since its preparatory work began 10 years ago was also presented.
The speakers said there should be strong awareness against the Tipaimukh project. Disasters caused by our imprudent activities throughout the world have put the nature's balance at risk, they added
Emphasising the need for mutual interests they said as an upper riparian country India should consider Bangladesh's interest on moral ground since Indians would also be badly affected by the project. "We have to raise strong protest at home and abroad against the mega project for our survival," they asserted.
They further said the inhabitants of the country's northeast region including greater Sylhet and Mymensingh as well as whole Bangladesh and the Indian states of Assam and Manipur should raise strong protest against the project, since it would create catastrophe in the whole region. Already several Indian groups had registered their voice against the much talked about project. The speakers added that there should be a greater agitation against the controversial attempt.
The river bifurcates its way by the names of Surma and Kushiyara entering into Bangladesh territory. People of greater Sylhet region had been protesting the project since the news of approval of the project came to light years ago
Ilyas uddin Biswas of Sust chaired the programme while Sushanta Kumar Das, Aktarul Islam, Prof Kamal Ahmed Chowdhury, Yasmin Haque, CPB-District President Bedananda Bhattacharya and district Awami League Vice-president Abdus Jahir Chowdhury Sufian spoke, among others. MA Gani conducted the programme.