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Silchar, April 28: The 1,500MW Tipaimukh hydroelectric project in Manipur may finally see Tipaimukh MoU the light of the day. A memorandum of understanding was signed in New Delhi today by Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN), NHPC Ltd and the Manipur government to jointly develop the project.

The project has witnessed stiff opposition from Bangladesh, intense diplomatic parleys between India and its eastern neighbour and protests by tribals in Manipur and Cachar.

At the centre of controversy is a proposed dam for the hydel project to be built on Manipur’s Barak river that branches into the Surma and the Kushiara rivers after entering Sylhet district of Bangladesh.

The dam could affect water flow into Bangladesh. It will also impact the livelihood of around 60,000 people.

The Bangladesh government had been voicing its concerns since the project was conceived.

In July last year, a 10-member joint parliamentary committee from Bangladesh had visited the project site and studied the possible impact of the project.

Bangladesh Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to go ahead with the project.

In a joint communique issued after the three-day visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January, Manmohan Singh had reiterated that “India would not take steps on the Tipaimukh project that would adversely impact Bangladesh”.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh had also said the central government would take a fresh look at the project following protests in Manipur and Bangladesh.

By regulating excess water, the Tipaimukh project is expected to help control floods in Sylhet, western Manipur and southern Assam.

It will also open a new waterway from Haldia port in Bengal to the Northeast via Bangladesh.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 8,138 crore. NHPC will pick up a 69 per cent stake in the joint venture, while 26 per cent will be held by SJVN and the remaining 5 per cent by the Manipur government.

The NHPC stock gained marginally by Rs 0.15, or 0.50 per cent, to close at Rs 30.40 on the BSE.

“After a meeting of the shareholders at New Delhi today, the MoU was signed in the afternoon,” a source close to the development said.

A detailed project report will now be prepared after which the final impact of the project could be known.

Earlier, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation had also prepared a project report.

“However, a fresh study will be done,” the source said.

Courtesy: Telegraph

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