Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tipaimukh dam: Farm output to fall, spelling disaster for Sylhet region, Dhaka

Farm output will fall and poverty will rise, spelling ‘disaster’ for the Sylhet region if India’s proposed Tipaimukh dam and Fulertal barrage are built, maintain experts.

“The dam will cause water flow to slow down while the barrage will ensure their full control of water resources,” former director general and chief engineer of Water Resources Planning Organisation,engineer Inamul Haque told Thursday.

“The cultivation of early variety of boro in the northeast would be hampered,” he said.

“So far as I know the Tipaimukh dam will be built 200 kms from the Amolshid border, at Zakingong, to construct a vast water reservoir for hydro-power generation.”

“The water from three rivers-the Barak, Tipai and Irang-would be required to feed the water reservoir to cover an immense area,” said Inamul.

“Besides, another barrage is to be built 100 kms off our border at Fulertal in India for irrigation purposes which would feed the waters through canals,” Haq said.

Haq said downstream regions will experience two major impacts: firstly, with the decrease of water in December, the people who now grow early varieties of boro on the land which used to arise in the haor areas would no longer have this resource.

Secondly, the water flow of the river Surma will decrease significantly, he said.

IUCN resident director Dr.Ainun Nishat told that the construction of Tipaimukh dam will reduce the the natural monsoon flood patterns of the area on which cultivation depends.

He said the construction of barrage at Fulertal on top of the Tipaimukh dam could seriously reduce the water flow during the dry season.

“The extent of drop in water flow depends on the volume of water withdrawn through the irrigation canals,” he said.

“We could see the Surma and Kushiara rivers dry up completely during the dry season, he said

Anu Muhammad, professor of economics at Jahangirnagar University, told the Tipaimukh dam and Fulertal barrage would spell “a great disaster.”

“Arable land will decline and production of crops fall, leading to a rise in poverty,” he said.

According to some reports, the proposed Tipaimukh dam across the river Barak in the Indian state Monipur will 162.5 metres high and 390metres long to create a reservoir by permanently submerging some 2.75 square kilometers of land.

India expects to generate around 1500 megawatt of hydropower from the project.


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