Tuesday, June 16, 2009
‘MPs, Ministers should quit if they fail to stop Tipaimukh Dam’
Former TIB chairman Prof Muzaffer Ahmed on Monday said the lawmakers and ministers should step down from their respective position if they fail to protect people’s and nation’s interest by saying no to Tipaimukh dam.
“We voted them to protect our rights and interests… I don’t know how they claim the dam will not be harmful for Bangladesh,” he said, while speaking as chief guest at a national seminar on Tipaimukh Dam at the Jatiya Press Club auditorium in the morning. Assistant Professor of Chittagong University Geography Department Kazi M Barkat Ali presented the keynote paper at the seminar, organized by ‘Movement to Protect Surma-Kushiara-Meghna’, a citizens’ forum.
Former DG of BDR Maj Gen (retd) ALM Fazlur Rahman, former secretary Mohammad Asaf Uddowlah, Engr Dr SI Khan and Prof Dr Mahbub Ullah, among others, addressed the seminar with convener of the forum Abdul Qayyum Chowdhury in the chair.
Prof Muzaffer Ahmed doubted the patriotism of the lawmakers and ministers who are advocating in favor of Tipaimukh Dam ignoring the nation’s interest.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should lead the nation to protest India’s bid to make the dam and people are ready to go for a movement with her to protect the country’s interest.
He urged the government “not to kill people by welcoming drought saying yes to Tipaimukh dam.”
“It’s not a political issue at all, it’s a national issue and we’re virtually in a do or die situation,” said the eminent economist and social activist. “It is unfortunate that an elected government is apparently favoring the dam,” he added.
He said he was alone when he protested against the same issue in 2004 and now the entire nation is united against the dam. This will help to force India to change their mind over the issue.
Prof Muzaffer asked the Prime Minister why she is sending a team to India without demanding documents of feasibility study and technical assessment on Tipaimukh dam.
“Make your stand over the issue clear before the nation, people will cooperate you,” he said suggesting direct discussion before agreeing on the construction of the dam.
He urged the people to remain alert against any conspiracy and continue their movement until India suspends its plan. “For sustainable development of Bangladesh, its rivers and water-bodies would have to be protected.”
Dr Asaf Uddowlah said national unity is urgently needed to stop the construction of Tipaimukh Dam as it has become a great cause of concern for the entire nation.
Former BDR DG Maj Gen (retd) ALM Fazlur Rahman said people are making promises on various issues but none was found to pledge to stop the Tipaimukh Dam. “Promising to stop Tipaimukh dam is more urgent than any other promises.”
Indicating at those who are talking in favor of Tipaimukh Dam, he said: “Wrap up your business with India, people will never forgive you for anti-state activities.”
Barkat Ali in his keynote paper suggested an all-party committee to deal with the issue so that the country’s interest can be protected.
Describing some adverse impacts the Tipaimukh Dam might cause, he said all patriotic citizens of the country should stand against the dam as India is moving with their own agenda keeping Bangladesh in dark.
Earlier, speakers said democracy, independence and sovereignty of the country are now in great peril and all the people with “nationalistic spirit” should get united to protect the country’s interests.
They said country would incur huge “economic and environmental losses” if India builds the Tipaimukh Dam.
The speakers called upon the government to take all possible initiatives to stop the construction of Tipaimukh dam on Borak River saying that the northern and eastern side of the country would be turned into desert if Tipaimukh dam is constructed. They were highly critical of the government for remaining silent when the Indian government is implementing the construction of the dam violating the international river law and ignoring the interest of Bangladesh.