Friday, July 17, 2009

Govt wary of experts revealing Tipai data: BNP

Dhaka, July 17 (

Opposition BNP believes the government is afraid to include experts in the parliamentary team scheduled to visit Tipaimukh in India fearing that the experts may disclose publicly the possible adverse impacts of the proposed dam later.

"BNP is not interested in just jumping on the bandwagon as the government seems wary of sending in experts along. The government possibly fears that experts will tell everybody everything on return," vice-chairman MK Anwar said at a press briefing in the party's central office in Naya Paltan on Friday.

He added that they will make a presentation by experts of the data and information they have gathered on the proposed dam on Saturday at Hotel Sheraton.

Political party leaders, cabinet members, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry, civil societies, professionals and MPs from greater Sylhet have been invited to the presentation, Anwar said.

Opposition chief Khaleda Zia will also be present .

Anwar said, "BNP along with the people will do whatever is needed to protect the country against such damages. We'll resort to long marches, meetings and rallies, if required."

He resented the government's reticence about India's proposition of building the dam.

"The government is not speaking up at all to protest the Tipaimukh dam building proposal. Moreover, some ministers sound as if they are advocating India's stand."

"BNP will not compromise the country's interest in the name of upholding bilateral friendship. We'll protest any attempts of any quarter to sell our nation's interest to foreign countries.

"We demanded India should withdraw her envoy and we stick to that stance. Our government will have to act in this regard positively," said the BNP MP, replying to a query.

Khaleda Zia on June 29 sent a list to prime minister Sheikh Hasina containing names for a six -member representative team to visit the dam site in northeastern Manipur state.

The delegates are Anwar, former water resources minister Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, former water resources secretary Muhammad Asafuddoula, former Dhaka University vice-chancellor Moniruzzaman Miah, former director general of Water Development Board Sharif Rafiqul Islam and water specialist Prof Abdur Rob.

Among them, Anwar and Hafiz Uddin have been mentioned as "BNP representative" and the others as "technical experts".

A 10-member parliamentary panel, headed by chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry Abdur Razzaq, will go to India on July 29 to gather data on India's proposed dam over the cross-border Barak river in the northeastern state of Monipur.

Six MPs—four from Awami League, one from Jatiya Party and one from Bangladesh Jaamat-e-Islami—one water expert and three government officials, have been selected for the delegation in a draft list prepared by the government, Razzaq said.

The opposition BNP and environmental groups have expressed concern that the dam in northeast India would cause an environmental catastrophe downstream in Bangladesh.

India says the project is aimed at generating power and would not divert or hold up water from the river.

Many in India's Monipur are also in opposition to the project saying the dam would make displace thousands of people.

The Barak river supplies waters to two rivers in Bangladesh, the Surma and Kushiara, the main sources of water to hundreds of water bodies in the greater Sylhet region and which in turn feed the mighty Jamuna river.

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