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Ehsanul Haque Jasim
[Source: The New Nation, National Awami Party (NAP) formed a human chain at the Muktangan area in the city on Saturday demanding stoppage of the construction work of Tipaimukh Dam by India]

The Indian government already has completed all preparations to construct Tipaimukh dam on Borak River just a kilometer north of Zakigonj in Sylhet.

The construction work was postponed in March 2007 in the face of protests from different quarters of their own country and outside of India.

Now the Tipaimukh dam project already been verified by the environment ministry of India. The central government of India has taken new programme to implement the project.

According to the source, the design of the project has been completed. The government of Mizoram State has got approval from the central government to construct Tipaimukh dam spending 5,163.86 crore Indian Rupi cash.

At first, the people of the Mizoram State formed strong movement against the dam construction. But the Indian government was able to convince the people of the state to avoid the movement on Tipaimukh Dam.

After that, the Indian government wants to convince Bangladesh for shunning the restriction from Bangladesh to construct the dam and for this reason the Foreign Minister of India Shib Shankar Menon recently visited Bangladesh.

During the visit he met with Foreign Minister of the country Dr Dipu Moni, her deputy Hasan Mahmud and others concerned.

He discussed about the dam and proposed some facilities from India for Bangladesh if the government of Bangladesh agrees to accept the project of Tipaimukh dam. India is ready to give some facilities to Bangladesh including supplying electricity.

He told that Bangladesh should send a delegation comprising technical and political people to witness the project.

The optimism of the Indian government is that they will be able to convince Bangladesh.

The proposed Tipaimukh dam is to be located 500 metres downstream from the confluence of Barak River, and lies on the south-western corner of Manipur State.

Bangladesh gets 7 to 8 percent of its total water from the Barak in India's north-eastern states. Millions of people are dependent on hundreds of water bodies, fed by the Barak, in the Sylhet region for fishing and agricultural activities.

The environmentalists expressed deep concern if the project is implemented it could deprive Bangladesh of its share of the international river that supplies waters to hundreds of water bodies in the region. They fear that the dam would ultimately dry up the Meghna River in the greater Sylhet region and nearely districts.

The dam will kill all common rivers of the country particularly the Meghna River, the biggest river of the country.

The construction of the dam when completed in 2012 would bring about a major disaster for Bangladesh, virtually drying up the Surma and the Kushiara rivers in winter season, which water most of the north-eastern regions of Bangladesh.

The Tipaimukh dam would seriously affect not only agriculture, particularly in winter, but is also going to bring about negative ecological and environmental changes in vast areas in both Bangladesh and India.

Among the common rivers, the most rivers affected by Indian barrages and their networks of canals, reservoirs and irrigation schemes are the Ganges, the Meghna and the Teesta.

Although India and Bangladesh have water-sharing agreement for the Ganges, there are none for the other 53 common rivers. With the Tipaimukh dam now underway, India would be diverting river waters from its north to its south and east, thereby putting Bangladesh under serious stress.

The environmentalists in Bangladesh have held many talks on the adverse impact of the proposed dam. They say the dam would dry up the river and the water bodies in the downstream, leaving millions jobless.

It may be mentioned that Water Resource Ministry knows nothing in advance about the construction of the dam and the Minister is also unaware of the dam.

There is no information in the ministry about the dam except for some cutting of newspapers.

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