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APRIL 23, 2009: Several thousand people yesterday joined a programme on the bank of Surma River in Sylhet city protesting the much talked Tipaimukh dam project on the upstream of Barak River in Indian state of Manipur.

The project will create a disastrous situation in 12 districts in the north-east region of Bangladesh and areas in Indian states of Assam and Manipur, speakers said at the programme organised by Angikar Bangladesh.

Calling upon the democratic and patriotic forces to raise voice against the looming crisis, they said there should be adequate awareness among our citizens about the Tipaimukh project.

Meanwhile there have been strong protests in three north-eastern states of India -- Manipur, Assam and Mizoram -- against the mega project that would threaten the existence of at least 40,000 aboriginals people and cause immense harm to ecology and environment in a large area.

Shahjalal University Teacher Dr Nazia Chowdhury, Sujon Sylhet chapter General Secretary Faruque Mahmud Chowdhury, Bapa Sylhet chapter Secretary Abdul Karim Kim, Sylhet district Bar Association Vice-President Kishore Kumar Kar spoke at the rally.

“Implementation of the said project, mainly aimed at producing electricity, would cause a disastrous situation for the Meghna basin, especially the greater Sylhet region, during the dry season due to large-scale withdrawal of water of the Barak River in the upper stream. Also there are apprehensions of recurrent flooding during the monsoon due to possible release of water,” a senior official in the Bangladesh Water Development Board said.

The Indian government is going ahead with the project even ignoring protests in Manipur state, he said, adding that it will be another Farakka for Bangladesh. The Barak River bifurcates as Surma and Kushiyara while entering into Bangladesh territory.

People of greater Sylhet region started protesting the project since the news of approval of the project was published a few years ago.

However, the Indian officials claimed that the hydro-electric project in their territory will not cause any harm for the Sylhet region.

Source: The Daily Star

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