Khaleda writes Manmohan for joint survey
Leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia has asked India not to proceed with the Tipaimukh dam project until a joint survey is done and project details are shared between the two countries.
She made the call in a letter sent to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through the Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Tuesday, said a source in the main opposition BNP yesterday.
Khaleda, also BNP chairperson, said since the Barak flowing through the Indian state of Manipur is a common river, a joint survey should be done before launching any project involving the river.
She said the two countries then should share and disseminate the findings of the survey and decide on the project through discussions.
Khaleda mentioned that concern has already been raised globally over the adverse impact of the Tipaimukh project, and it would not be wise to build the dam unilaterally on the common river.
She said construction of the dam would not only endanger livelihood of Indians dependent on the Barak river, but also three crore Bangladeshis in the Meghna river basin.
Sources in BNP said the party chairperson felt the urgency to write the letter to Manmohan in the wake of growing resentment in Bangladesh over the recent signing of an agreement on a hydroelectric project on the Barak river at Tipaimukh.
They said the BNP chief made the move as the government had remained silent and failed to clarify Bangladesh's position on the issue.
Meanwhile, BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “This [Tipaimukh dam] will endanger the lives of three crore Bangladeshis. The chairperson has asked the Indian prime minister not to take any decision unilaterally.”
He was speaking at a press briefing at the party's central office at Naya Paltan in the capital.
On Tuesday, India officially confirmed the signing of the deal and said it is a hydroelectric project with provision for flood control, and it will not involve any diversion of water for irrigation.
In response, Bangladesh the same day urged India to hold talks before initiating any intervention in common rivers like the Barak.
“The government of India should share all relevant details of the proposed project in full transparency and also about any further step that it may take in connection with the project,” said a statement of Bangladesh's foreign ministry.