Leaders of International Farakka Committee, a rights group, on Tuesday voiced deep concern at the singing of a deal by India with two companies to construct the proposed Tipaimukh Dam on the River Barak at the upstream of Bangladesh’s River Meghna.
In a joint statement, they said the deal singing by keeping the government and the people of Bangladesh in the dark was against the understanding reached earlier between the two countries at the highest level.
The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Dhaka in September had assured that India would do nothing on common rivers that might cause harm to Bangladesh. The Indian government had also assured that it would not start the construction of the dam without counselling Bangladesh.
The joint statement was issued by IFC chairman Atiqur Rahman Salu, secretary general Sayed Tipu Sultan, advisers professor Manuruzzaman Miah (former DU VC) and professor Sayed Shafiullah (JU), IFC coordinator Mostafa Kamal Mujumder (editor, New Nation), members of the IFC committee of the experts on the proposed Tipaimukh Dam professor Jasim Uddin Ahmed, SI Khan, professor Asif Nazrul (DU), Monirul Quader Mirza (University of Toronto), Adel Miah (University of Arkansas), Khalequzzaman (University of Vancouver), and Sayed Irfanul Bari (general secretary of IFC Bangladesh).
The IFC leaders said the Meghna was the third largest river of Bangladesh. Obstruction of its flow by the said dam would bring environmental disaster to eastern part of Bangladesh and cause severe damage to lives and livelihood of people. The proposed dam at the upstream of the Meghna is a signal of unprecedented disaster for Bangladesh.
They said the deal to construct the dam had been signed at a time when dams and barrages were being decommissioned in Western countries to restore the ecology of rivers to their original state. If constructed, the Tipaimukh Dam would cause the same kind of havoc to the environment, lives and livelihood of the people living in the vicinity of the River Meghna.
The small rivers of the Meghna basin like those in the Ganges basin will surely die out, the IFC leaders said.
Being deprived of the normal flow of the Ganges, Khulna region has fallen below other regions of the country.
-With UNB/New Age input