JS team sees no harm in Tipai | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 04, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 04, 2009

JS team sees no harm in Tipai

Delegation convinced with India's 'no damage' assurance

India would not launch any projects that would harm Bangladesh, said Abdur Razzaq, head of the parliamentary delegation that returned yesterday after a visit to the neighbouring country to assess impacts of Tipaimukh dam.
"We are convinced by India's assurance that they won't do anything that harms the interests of Bangladesh," Razzaq told newspersons at Zia International Airport upon their return from New Delhi.
The 10-member delegation left Dhaka on July 29 and met the Indian foreign and power ministers in New Delhi. The Indian officials provided the delegation with current hydrological data on the Tipaimukh project on the Barak river in Manipur.
Delegation member Jatiya Party lawmaker ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader said India has not yet started construction at the Tipaimukh site and the future of the project is still uncertain.
"The project is just at its initial stage. I don't think it could be implemented in my lifetime," he said, adding the delegation could not visit the Tipaimukh site because of inclement weather.
They however got to see photos of the Tipaimukh site by courtesy of a BBC journalist, who went to the site, Hawlader added.
Razzaq said both the Indian ministers assured that they have no plan to withdraw water from Fulertal or any other point upstream. Rather, in the hydroelectricity project there is a flood management component that will ensure more water flow in the Surma, Kushiyara and the Meghna during lean season.
"They said they have conducted environmental impact assessment, and will do more. India will be the first to be affected, if any," said Razzaq, also chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry.
The lawmaker said they will analyse the data they collected from India and check if India's Tipaimukh project, 210 kilometres off Bangladesh border, has any impact on Bangladesh.
"We will seek more information."
"The Indian minister said they were friend of Bangladesh in the past, are a good friend now and will be so in future too," he said.
Asked why the delegation went to India knowing that it is rainy season, Razzaq said, "This was more because of political pressure. It is we who fixed the schedule for the visit, not India."
Awami League MPs Abdur Rahman and AKM Fazlul Haq and independent lawmaker Fazlul Azim, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology professor Monwar Hossain, Sajjad Hossain of Bangladesh-India Joint Rivers Commission, Water Resources Secretary Waheeduzzaman and Foreign Ministry Director General Emran Ahmed were also in the team.
BNP did not name any MP for the delegation, while Jamaat-e-Islami MP Hamidur Rahman Azad did not join the delegation at the last moment as he fell ill.
BNP had earlier termed the delegation's visit to India a "picnic". Party leader Hafiz Uddin, however, later lauded the delegation when it sought data from India.

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