Friday, July 10, 2009

BNP to take up Tipaimukh issue with foreign governments

July 10th, 2009

Bangladesh’s main opposition party will write to foreign governments and international organisations to protest the proposed Tipaimukh dam in northeastern India on grounds that it will hurt the environment.

Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia had last month written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to desist from constructing the dam on Barak river in Manipur state.

Her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has so far stayed away from a parliamentary team that will visit the dam site in the third week of this month.

The BNP announced its decision to write to various governments on a day Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni met her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi to work out details of the team’s visit.

Keen to resolve the issue through talks, Dhaka and New Delhi have decided that the Bangladeshi parliamentary team will meet Indian Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal before visiting the dam site.

“Country’s environment will be affected seriously if the dam is built,” Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, member of BNP’s standing committee, Thursday told The Daily Star.

“So we want to draw attention of international community to Tipaimukh dam,” Rahman added.

The committee also asked the government to make public all data and information on Tipaimukh dam provided by India.

It urged the government to make people aware of the probable impact of the dam and said some contradictory comments made by the ministers have raised questions among the people regarding the issue, New Age newspaper said.

The party slammed the government for “cracking down” on anti-dam activists who have protested outside the Indian High Commission.

Since it lost badly in last December’s election, Zia and her allies have stayed away from the parliament most of the time and have taken to streets on various issues.

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