Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tipaimukh Documents

The Prothom ALo reported that the information Bangladesh has so far been given by India about Tipaimukh is meager. Water resources minister earlier said that the info given to Bangladesh recently has only the height, width of the bridge. Per the above report, current Foreign Minister and Leader of the proposed delegate team, Mr A Razzaque have some 2005 info. However they do not have the much sought after comprehensive Environmental impact assessment.

The ten member, much hyped, high powered MP and expert panel will visit Dam site only to see whether they can obtain the environmental impact assessment (EIA). But it is very unfortunate and at the same time puzzling to find that, the data Bangladesh is seeking for so long and we are sending ten MPS and experts to request for the data, is already available in public websites of different Indian agencies.

I was able to obtain the 2007 update of the environmental impact assessment as well as important government documents like clearance from state pollutions boards of Monipur and Mizoram, newspaper clips of public hearing kept in Indian governments dossier on Tipaimukh dam. A simple google search made it possible for me.

This is a large document comprising many section. There are hundreds of pages.I glanced through part of it. By reading, it becomes clear that the whole dossier is a govt report aimed at smooth approval of the project. So the focus was on showing positive side of it. Totally missing from the analysis is any study on downstream effects in BD.

There are some very short statement with intentional positive spin. e.g. the one below…

…In a study made to examine the environmental and economic impact at the down stream at pre and post project scenario, it is found that average water availability at down stream for monsoon season at post dam condition will decrease by 30% in comparison to pre-dam condition and thereby will provide relief to down stream population from recurring annual flood havoc. Similarly, due to regulated flow from reservoir, the non-monsoon flow will increase by 110 percent, which will provide irrigation benefit for Rabi crops…

It clearly does not say what will happen with 30% reduction of flow in those years when there is no flood. Plus 110% increase in flow of water in winter season in Sylhet Surma/ Kushiara basin will be disaster, as those areas get one crop a year. The crops are cultivated in the dried up haors. If haors are not dried up during lean season, boro can not be cultivated during winter season. It also does not clarify how Shurma, Kushiyara, Meghna would deal with 30% reduction of water during Monsoon.

Another excerpt says,

Tipaimukh site is seismically located in Zone-V of Seismic Zoning Map of India. As per available records, about 16 earthquakes of magnitude greater than 7.0 have occurred in this region, of which 2 are of world’s greatest earthquake with magnitude more than 8.5.

This excerpt is also in sharp contradiction with what Mr Pinak Ranjan said about earthquake.

It also has great detail of compensation/ promises for people affected by the flood, catchmnet area, down stream area in Nagaland, Mizoram and Monipur. The promise of reserving power, giving jobs in plant construction, .. a big numbered list of bribes for angry locals.

This dossier clearly states the intention of building a irrigation barrage in Fulertol area but mentions that the Fulertol project is not part of Tipaimukh hydroelectric project and hence beyond the scope of this dossie.

Below are some of the documents for your reading pleasure. Will will publish more during the coming days.

Interested readers can go through the address below to get some documents about Tipaimukh dam.

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