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DHAKA, May 22, The New Nation: The people of Sylhet and north-eastern side of the country are seriously opposing the construction of Tipaimukh Dam project on Tuiruong (Barak River) at the upper reaches of Rivers Surma and Kushiara, which is located just a kilometre from the border of Zakiganj in Sylhet.

Different social organisations of Sylhet Division, environmental organisations and political organisations are protesting the construction of the dam each day by organising different programmes including protest rally, human chain programme, roundtable and discussion. If the construction of the dam is completed by 2012, the greater Sylhet region and the northern and eastern side of the country would be most vulnerable.

Sylhet Division Development Action Council, a Dhaka-based organisation of Sylhet people, are protesting the construction of the dam.

On Wednesday, the organisation formed a human chain programme at Muktangan in the city led by its President Advocate Abed Raza demanding steps of the government to stop the construction of the dam. The organisation will also organise a human chain programme in front of the National Press Club on May 27 to raise public opinion against the dam.

Advocate Abed Raza told this reporter if the Government does not take steps to protest the Tipaimukh dam construction soon, then they would form strong movement to protect the north-eastern side of the country from desertification.

The student wing of the organisation Sylhet Division Development Student Action Council started movement on the issue from Dhaka University.

The organisation has taken 15-day-long programme by organising a press conference at Dhaka University campus on May 18. They formed a human chain on DU campus on May 21 and submitted a memorandum to Water Resources Minister through vice chancellor of the university.

It will organise a demonstration on May 25 at the foot of Aparajeyo Bangla on DU campus.

Jalalabad Association of Dhaka protested the construction of the dam. On May 16, its AGM was held at Shishu Academy in the city. The leaders of the Association at AGM promised to protest the construction of the dam strongly.

At the programme, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haq Mostafa Shaheed, Chief Whip Abdus Shaheed, former state minister and BNP leaders Ebadur Rahman Chowdhury and Enam Ahmed Chowdhury and one more lawmaker of Sylhet Division, among others, attended. They opposed the construction of the dam and called upon the people to raise their voice against Tipaimukh dam. The two ministers at the programme hoped if the people were united, the Indian government would cancel the project.

Lawmaker of Sylhet-5 (Kanaighat-Zakigonj) constituency, Hafiz Ahmed Majumder told this reporter the national unity irrespective of political differences should be formed against the construction of the dam in Monipur State in India. The country would incur huge economic and environmental losses if neighbouring country builds the dam, he added.

Former lawmaker Principal Farid Uddin Chowdhury told this reporter that the Government is silent when the Indian government is implementing the construction of the dam. If the government fails to stop the construction of the dam, the people of Sylhet will form strong movement to protect their own self, he added.

Every day, different political organisations and social organisations organise programmes in Sylhet city.

Ongikar Bangladesh is one of the organisations, which is continuing the movement in Sylhet.

Bangladesh Sabuj-Shyamal Parishad, Jago Sylhet, Sylhet Bachao Andolan, Sylhet Jobo O Chhatra Kallyan Federation and other organisations are active and continuing the movement.

It may be mentioned that the Indian government has completed all preparation to construct Tipaimukh dam. The construction work was postponed in March 2007 in the face of protests from different quarters.

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 will spend 5,163.86 Indian Rupee to construct the dam.

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