Saturday, July 11, 2009

Confusion over Tipai visit date: Water Minister says govt sets July 15 as tentative date

Staff Correspondent

Confusions have arisen regarding the date for the visit to the Tipaimukh dam site in India by a special committee of lawmakers and experts.

"We have set July 15 as a tentative date for the visit. But the schedule could be delayed by one week for Nam summit," Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen yesterday told The Daily Star over telephone.

He also said the date for visiting Tipaimukh will be confirmed after Awami League lawmaker Abdur Razzak, chairman of the nine-member committee, returns from his visit to London.

On July 6, Ramesh had told journalists at his secretariat office that the committee would decide the date on July 13.

Razzak, former water resources minister, will lead the delegation to Tipaimukh to assess its impacts on Bangladesh. The team will also meet some Indian high-ups to talk about the dam.

The parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry formed the special committee on June 16. Apart from Razzak, it comprises AL lawmakers Abdur Rahman, AKM Fazlul Haque and ABM Anwarul Haque, Jatiya Party lawmaker Ruhul Amin Hawlader and Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad.

The main opposition BNP is yet to announce its representatives for the committee.

The Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker is actually representing the BNP-led four-party alliance, Ramesh said yesterday during a visit to Kurigram.

Three water resources experts will be included in the committee.

Without sharing any technical information, India is all set to construct a dam at Tipaimukh in Manipur state on the Barak river, which has triggered huge public concerns in Bangladesh.

Experts told The Daily Star that construction of the dam will cause a great environmental threat to Bangladesh as four major rivers in the Meghna basin--the Meghna, Kalini, Surma and Kushiyara--lie downstream the Barak.

The prime ministers of both the neighbouring countries are scheduled to attend the Nam summit in Cairo, Egypt, from July 15.

Source: Daily Star

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