Monday, December 5, 2011

Protest In Sweden Against Tipaimukh Dam

Sweden have demonstrated outside Indian embassy at Stockholm against India's plan to dam the Barak River, which flows through Bangladesh from India, to produce power.

Students, researchers and teachers from several other countries joined hands with the Bangladeshi students in front of the Indian embassy on Sunday to oppose the Tipaimukh hydroelectric project.

The demonstrators, carrying placards with anti-Tipaimukh slogans inscribed on them, said India being the larger country is trying to be imposing and the Bangladesh government should present the harmful sides of the project to the world.

Javed Kaiser, a former Bangladeshi student of Stockholm University, said, "India said Bangladesh will face no harm if the dam is built. But, our experience with the Farakka barrage says that India only looks after own interests. The ecology of India's north-eastern part, along with Bangladesh, will be harmed once dam is built."

India built Farakka Barrage in the 1970s on the Ganges to divert water away from Bangladesh.

"We should protest the planned construction of the dam from our own respective positions."

Briton Lucas Pilarski, a researcher of Upsala University, said, "We all know that such a dam is harmful for environment. India is using power as it is a big country.

"As far as I know," Pilarski added, "India has not consulted Bangladesh before deciding on the hydroelectric dam. Interests of neighbouring countries' should be considered while deciding on such structures."

The United Nations should intervene on the issue, according to him.

Nepal's Sameer Adhikari said, "India is not respecting smaller countries in South Asia. It's not acceptable in anyway."

Stockholm University researcher Yuhana Larson said India should provide information on the project to Bangladesh and there should be a joint survey on the possible impacts of the dam.

Bangladeshi student Enamul Haque Shawon, who came from the Netherlands, said Bangladesh should sit across the table with India to make its position clear.

A section of environmentalists, both in Bangladesh and India, are opposed to the Tipaimukh project.

They say the dam would significantly bring down flow of water in its tributaries Surma and Kurshiara in Bangladesh. The dam will have a negative impact on the Meghna basin.

India's northeastern state Manipur recently signed an agreement with state-owned NHPC Ltd and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN) on Oct 22 to construct a 1,500MW Tipaimukh hydroelectric power project in Manipur.

According to a BBC report, the anti-Tipaimukh movement leaders have said that though the project got environmental clearance, the protests of the locals were not taken into account during the 'Environment Impact Analysis'. 

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