Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tipaimukh hasn't started yet: FM

The foreign minister on Monday told parliament that India's proposed Tipaimukh project has no water diversion system and it would only be constructed to produce hydroelectricity and control flooding.

During a question-answer session Dipu Moni said India had informed Dhaka that the project's work was yet to begin.

Moni replied when Sunamganj-3 MP M A Mannan asked the minister when 'the construction of the dam' began and inquired about the present situation of the Tipaimukh project.

The minister replied that India was yet to start the project.

"The Manipur state government recently signed a promoter's agreement with state-owned NHPC Limited and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN) for setting up a joint venture company (JVC)," Dipu Moni said in reply.

She added that recurrence of flood in the Indian state of Assam caused by the overflowing of Barak River and its tributaries often caused grave damage during the rainy season.

"India conducted a survey to build a dam on the Barak to protect the area from flooding," she said.

Following the first Bangladesh-India Joint Commission meeting on June 25-26, 1972, a survey team was formed to inquire about the flood condition in Bangladesh's Sylhet and Kachhar district in Assam.

Later, India informed Bangladesh of building Tipaimukh dam after the 14th joint river commission meeting in 1978.

Parties at the talks decided that engineers from both the countries would submit a progress report in the next commission meeting after evaluating various aspects and consequences of the project on the Barak River.

Dipu Moni also pointed out that a team headed by the chairman of parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry had visited the project area in India on Aug 4, 2009.

"The team did not notice any sign of dam construction while visiting the location from above," she said.

The minister also quoted diplomatic sources from India on May 21 the same year and said, "The Indian authorities have informed us that the proposed project area lacks any irrigation component and will 'only' be built to produce hydroelectricity and provide protection from floods."

Replying to a query from Kurigram-3 MP AKM Maidul Islam, the foreign minister said China has not officially proposed to undertake any project to divert the course of Brahmaputra River.

She said: "A proposal has been tabled after a joint discussion between China, India and Bangladesh regarding the issue."

Replying to another query from Comilla-8 MP Nasimul Alam, Dipu Moni said separate labour wings are currently functioning at 17 Bangladesh missions abroad.

"About 1.5 million Bangladeshi expatriates were able to go abroad with job opportunities during the three years of the incumbent government," the foreign minister said.

Parliament began its 12th session on Jan 25 in the absence of the BNP, the chief opposition.