Thursday, June 25, 2009

Preparations for long march towards Tipaimukh dam

Ehsanul Haque Jasim

Different organisations of the country particularly those in Sylhet division have been taking preparations for long march towards Tipaimukh Dam to voice their demand for stopping its construction across river Barak in the Monipur state of India.

The long march of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and some other organisations including Bangladesh Jatiya Party, Jatiya Gonotantrik Party, National People's Party, National Democratic Party, Muslim League and Bangladesh Islamic Party is likely to be led by BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.

Former Water Resource Minister Hafiz Uddin Ahmed has been given responsibility to collect all necessary documents about the dam and he has already done it, party sources said.

The BNP Chairperson has already written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Monmuhan Singh calling for stopping the construction of Tipaimukh dam at upper reaches of the rivers Surma and Kushiara to save Bangladesh from desertification.

If the Indian government does not stop the construction of the dam, BNP would announce the programme of long march within a short time. The long march programme of BNP may be announced next month or first week of August.

Meanwhile, the leftist parties of the country also have been seriously opposing the construction of the dam. They are also planning a long march programme towards Tipaimukh dam.

Seven-left parities under the banner of Gonotantrik Bam Morcha may announce the long march programme soon. Now they are forming human chain and holding protest rally and demonstration against the dam.

The Islamic parties, which are active against the construction of Tipaimukh dam, include Bangladesh Jamate Islami, Islami Oikkya Jote and Khelafat Majlish. Jamate Islami is opposing the dam by organising different programmes in Sylhet. Already, it has held demonstration on the issue at every upazila headquarters of Sylhet Division. Now the party is taking preparations for long march programme within a short time, according to party insiders.

Chairman of Islami Oikkya Jote Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini recently said at a meeting at Engineers Institution that if the government did not protest the construction of the dam strongly, they would be getting ready for the long march programme.

The social and environmental organisations particularly in Sylhet region are more vigorous on the issue.

The Dhaka based Sylhet Division Development Action Council and Jalabad Association, Surma Kushiara Meghna Bachao Andolan, Acid Santrash Nirmul Committee of Sylhet, Ongikar Bangladesh, Sochetan Nagorik Samaj and Sylhet Division Students & Youths Welfare Foundation have been opposing the dam tooth and nail.

Sylhet Division Development Action Council and its student wing already protested the dam project strongly by organising human chain, protest rally, demonstration in Dhaka and Sylhet.

They also submitted memorandum to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Water Resources Minister calling to take initiatives to stop the construction of the dam.


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