Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tipaimukh plan to go ahead: Manmohan

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has announced that India will go ahead with the plan of installing Tipaimukh hydroelectric project on the Barak River along the Manipur-Mizoram border.

"The environmental clearance for the project has been obtained and procuring clearance from forest department is underway," Manmohan was quoted as saying by The Assam Tribune.

Manmohan made the statement at a public rally in Manipur state on Saturday.
His announcement came amid protests from Bangladesh.

A section of environmentalists, both in Bangladesh and India, are opposed to the Tipaimukh project.
They say the dam over the Barak River 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.

For the implementation of the Tipaimukh project, the newly formed NHPC, Manipur state government and SJVN will work together, said the Indian prime minister.

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'.

Voicing his protest for over two decades, R K Ranjan, a scientist from Manipur said that the Indian government should have discussed the issue with the locals and obtained their permission.
However, "the security forces did not allow the general people to take part in the public hearings for the issue," he said.

The BBC had reported on Nov 19 that the Indian state of Manipur had signed contracts with several Indian government agencies to build the controversial Tipaimukh dam on the Barak River, which flows into Bangladesh as Surma.

Sheikh Hasina said last week in the parliament that the government is fully aware of Bangladesh's interests regarding the Tipaimukh dam.

On Friday, the Indian government has reiterated to Hasina's advisors Gowher Rizvi and Mashiur Rahman that India would not take steps on the proposed project, which would adversely affect Bangladesh and added that New Delhi was ready to hold discussion with Dhaka on the issue.