Saturday, July 11, 2009

India invites Bangla politicos to inspect contentious dam

NEW DELHI: India will attempt to assuage Bangladesh's concerns on a proposed hydropower dam in Manipur by inviting a multi-party group of

politicians and opinion leaders from Bangladesh (including members from BNP and Jamaat) to come to India, see the proposed site for themselves and get briefed by Indian experts.

The Tipaimukh project on the Barak river is emerging as the latest tension spot with Dhaka, though India has been at pains to reassure Bangladesh that nothing would be done to endanger the country. It was a message that was given by both foreign minister S M Krishna and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to visiting Bangladeshi foreign minister Dipu Moni, who was here on Thursday on a day-long visit.

Moni spent the morning in talks with Krishna, as preparation for formal bilateral talks scheduled in the coming weeks. She also handed over a letter of invitation for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from Sheikh Hasina inviting him to Dhaka. Sheikh Hasina is also expected to visit here soon.

Sources said Bangladesh reiterated its interest in rebuilding a trade and commercial relationship with India besides asking for assistance in infrastructure projects and technical expertise.

The invitation to the Bangladesh delegation is a sign that India wants to do business differently with its eastern neighbour. But the Tipaimukh project is also part of internal Bangladesh politics, because the Opposition BNP is using this to slam the government for "selling out" to India. The Asian highway project is another, where BNP is accusing the Awami government of giving transit to India through the multilateral highway.

Basically, India will have to work very hard to get any traction in Bangladesh, because all issues with India become part of political polarisation within the country. The key to this is the fear within Bangladesh that an Awami government is pro-India and India makes little attempt to go for a more equitable relationship with a bigger political spectrum.

Hasina is trying to defuse tension over Tipaimukh, but it's not working very well. "All the problems can be solved through talks. We have signed the historic Ganges Water Treaty, ensuring fair share of its water. We will be able to resolve the Tipaimukh issue also," she told parliament this week.


'Nirvik' long march against Tipaimukh Dam on July 17

Staff Reporter

'Nirvik', an environmental NGO has announced its schedule of long march programme towards Barak valley at Bangladeshi part of Amalshid under the Zakiganj Upazila of Sylhet district on 17 July demanding stoppage of the Tipaimukh dam project in India.

The long march programme-led the by Chief Coordinator of Nirvik ATM Kamal would begin at 9:00am on 17 July from Muktangang in the Dhaka city and end at Amalshid via Chittagong road, Narsingdi, Bhairab, Madhabpur, Shrimangal, Moulibazar, Fenchuganj, Sylhet, Surma and Kadamtali.

Nirvik will also hold roadside meetings and view exchange meetings with participation of socio-cultural and environmental organisations and personalities, local media men and elites at different important places during its long march programme.

ATM Kamal urged the people to rise to thwart conspiracy of deserting the country by building dams and barrages at upper riparian part of the joint-rivers in India.

Source: The New Nation

Tipaimukh dam will be resisted if harmful: Sen

Kurigram, July 10 (

The erection of Tipaimukh dam across the Barak will be resisted by people if it runs counter to Bangladesh's interests, the water resources minister said on Friday.

"None will be allowed to do anything harmful to Bangladesh. India cannot erect Tipaimukh Dam without our consent," Ramesh Chandra Sen asserted.

"Our parliamentary delegation will go to India on July 15 [to visit the dam site]. They will visit [the site] to survey and get all data," he told reporters after visiting river erosion-hit areas in Kurigram.

"A decision on the issue will come only after the experts examine those."

Embankments along with other permanent protection system will be taken to prevent the river erosion, he said.

In addition, rivers will be dredged in the current fiscal year.

The minister said work to dig 280 kilometres strech from Chilmari to Chandpur in Kurigram will start this fiscal year to restore navigability in the rivers.

The minister tourted Char Newaji, Char Sajai, Korttimari in Rajibpur Upazila, Shaheber Alga in Ulipur Upazila, and Mogolbachha, Panchgachhi, Kadamtalam Chowdhury Para, Bhogdanga in Kurigram Sadar and Borobhita in Fulbari Upazila.

He visited the erosion-hit area from 8:30am to 7pm, and listened to problems raised by locals.

He left for Lalmonirhat at 8pm.

The minister was accompanied by MPs Mohammad Zafar Ali, Moinul Islam Mukulm, Zakir Hossain, Ahmed Nazneen Sultana, Water Development Board chief engineer in the northern zone Aminul Haque, deputy commissioner Mohammad Asaduzzaman and superintendent of police Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, among others.

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