IANS, Dhaka, July 27
The Bangladesh team preparing to study the Tipaimukh dam project in India has promised to do its ‘best’, but says it would depend upon the extent to which the hosts facilitate all its movements.
“We will not be able to roam around at will while visiting the Tipaimukh dam, as we will be guided by the Indian counterpart,” chief of the delegation Abdur Razzaq, who is also chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on water resources, told the media Sunday.
A former minister, Razzaq leads an 11-member team of parliamentarians, officials and a water resource expert to the site of the proposed dam over Barak river in India’s Manipur state.
The team is scheduled to leave Dhaka Wednesday for a six-day visit.
Razzaq said it will try its best to collect as much information and documents as possible for assessing the dam’s effect on Bangladesh.
“We will move around as much as they will allow us,” Razzaq was quoted as saying in The Daily Star Monday.
About the ambit of the delegation’s investigation, Razzaq said: “We will try to assess how much damage to our environment the proposed dam is likely to cause. We will ask our expert to assess the matter.”
“We will also try to find out whether any structure is already built on the Barak river.
“News reports show a picture of a dam on the Barak river, but we know there is no structure built on that river. Therefore we will go and see for ourselves what is the real picture,” added Razzaq.
He said the delegation will also try to know the exact nature of the project.
The team will be visiting on an invitation extended by India two months ago. There have been protests and even rallies in the intervening period that have delayed the visit.
Razzaq admitted to leading a ‘weak’ team as the opposition parties had kept out of the visit.
“It would be better if they had gone with us,” Razzaq said, adding that independent lawmaker Mohammad Fazlul Azim was included in the delegation.
Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist ally, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, have opted out and have joined protests by a section of environmentalists and NGOs.
Upper riparian India says it requires the dam to generate power for its northeastern region.
The project’s critics however charge that it would deny Bangladesh its share of river water and have an adverse impact on the ecology.