May 26, 2013 | 02:36 AM (BD Time)
26 May, 2013 Sunday
Uthpal Kumar, M. Shah Alam Khan, Rezaur Rahman, M. Shahjahan Mondal, Hamidul Huq
Leaders of the water rights watch group, International Farakka Committee (IFC), in a joint statement issued in Dhaka on 22 November expressed deep concern at the signing of deal of India's public and private companies (central) with the government of Manipur state to construct the proposed Tipaimukh Dam on Barak River at the upstream of Bangladesh's Meghna River. They said the deal signing by keeping the government and the people of Bangladesh in the dark is against the understanding reached earlier between the two countries at the highest level. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his visit to Dhaka in September had assured that on common rivers India would do nothing that might cause harm to Bangladesh. The government of India had also assured that it would not start construction of the said dam without consulting Bangladesh.
The joint statement has been given by IFC chairman Atiqur Rahman Salu, secretary general Syed Tipu Sultan, advisers Prof. Manuruzzaman Miah (former VC, Dhaka University) and Prof Syed Shafiullah (Jahangirnagar University), IFC coordinator Mostafa Kamal Majumder (editor, The New Nation), members of the IFC committee of experts on the proposed Tipaimukh Dam - Prof. Jasim Uddin Ahmad, Dr. SI Khan (president and senior vice president IFC Bangladesh); Prof. Asif Nazrul (Dhaka University), Dr. Monirul Quader Mirza (University of Toronto), Dr. Adel Mia (University of Arkansas), Dr. Khalequzzman, University of Vancouver, and Syed Irfanul Bari, general secretary, IFC Bangladesh.
The IFC leaders said, Meghna is the third largest river of Bangladesh. Obstruction of its flow by the said dam would bring environmental disaster to the eastern part of Bangladesh and cause severe damage to life and livelihood of the people. The said dam at the upstream of the Meghna is a signal of unprecedented disaster for Bangladesh.
They said that the deal to construct the Tipaimukh Dam has been signed at a time when dams and barrages are being decommissioned in Western countries to restorethe ecology of the rivers to their original state. If constructed, the Tipaimukh Dam would cause the same kind of havoc to environment, life and livelihood of the people in the Meghna dependent areas of Bangladesh as the Farrakka Barrage has caused to the Ganges dependent areas. The small rivers in the Meghna basin like those in the Ganges basin will surely die out. Loss of biodiversity would lead to unprecedented environmental disaster. The people dependent on Meghna flows would have to abandon professions and migrate from ancestral homes in search of livelihood, indeed an impossible proposition in a small country.
Being deprived of the normal flow of the Ganges, the economic growth rate in the Ganges dependent Khulna region has fallen below other regions of the country. Thousands of families have lost their traditional professions and vocations, and migrated to other places for livelihood. Salinity ingress from the sea has gone to more than 200 kilometres inland as the rivers hardly flow in the lean season.
Agriculture, navigation, fishery, tree resources and all life forms have suffered severe damage. A process of desertification has been set in motion. The Sunderbans representing about a half of the country's forest resources have suffered serious damage and sundri its dominant tree species has started disappearing.
If the same process is repeated in the eastern part of the country due to the Timaimukh Dam, Bangladesh would lose its ability to feed and shelter its 160 million people. The green land would turn into a desert. Deprived of silt and sediments carried by the Meghna the haors would lose natural balance, subside deep downwards and attract saline water from the sea.
No study has been done to ascertain the impacts of the Tipaimukh Dam on the economy, environment, topography, biodiversity; and the life and livelihood of the people of Bangladesh. India cannot construct such a dam on a common river side-tracking its adverse impacts on its downstream neighbour, they said.
The IFC leaders urged the government of Bangladesh to strongly protest the move to unilaterally construct the dam and said while demanding of the government of India to refrain from constructing the said dam bring the matter to the notice of relevant international fora.
Art and Culture
Focus on Chittagong
Fashion & Beauty
Food and Drink
Law and Justice
New Nation Supplement
Editor: Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Adviser Editor: A.M. Mufazzal, Printed and Published by Mainul Hosein from the New Nation Printing Press, 1.R.K Mission Road, Dhaka-1203 Phones: New Nation PABX: 7122654, 7114514, 7122655, Fax: 880-2-7122650, 9512775 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com for advertisement, firstname.lastname@example.org