Monday, August 3, 2009

Call JRC meeting over Tipaimukh issue: BNP

Dhaka, Aug 2 (

In the wake of a parliamentary team's failure to visit the proposed Indian Tipaimukh dam site, the main opposition BNP on Sunday asked the government to call a meeting of Bangaldesh-India Joint River Commission to resolve the issue.

"Bangladesh has been asking for Tipaimukh project data for three decades but India has never heeded to the demand. And now the parliamentary team is returning without visiting the site," BNP vice president Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said on Sunday

"So the government now should immediately call a Joint River Commission meeting where the people's demand on Tipai dam will be discussed," the former water resources minister added.

Hafiz said BNP had repeatedly sought information about the dam project. On May 18, 1992, Bangladesh asked for data and again the BNP-led coalition government had twice objected to the project at the Joint River Commission meetings, he claimed.

"But the Indian government did not provide us the data."

About the 10-member parliamentary team failing to visit the site due to rough weather, the former minister said, "I would rather say they are returning empty handed."

"If their helicopter could not land because of inclement weather, they could have travelled to the site by road. The team could have waited a few more days to visit the site. I don't know why they did not do that."

"Perhaps, they used helicopter to avoid protest of the people of Monipur state," Hafiz said.

Environmental pressure groups in both Bangladesh and Manipur state have been voicing concern over the potential impact of the planned Indian hydropower dam in downstream areas in northeast India and Bangladesh.

Hafiz said the government had sent the team to allay fears of millions of people but the team failed in its mission.

"India will never provide the parliamentary team with data on the dam . If that country had any good intention, it could have placed them before Joint River Commission meeting."

He said that it was the only forum which included experts from both countries.

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