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Bangladesh, India: No To Tipaimukh Dam

Map courtesy http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/Abid_Jaljala/28950257

Map courtesy http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/Abid_Jaljala/28950257

The Tipaimukh Hydroelectric Project is being constructed near the confluence of Barak and Tuivai rivers, in Manipur, India and within 100km of Bangladesh border. Costing Rs 6,351 crore ($1.35 billion) the 164 meter high dam will have a firm generation capacity of 401.25MW of electricity.

While Hydroelectric projects are typically considered greener than other power generation options in short term, it has significant long-term impact to the environment like changes in the ecosystem, destroying nearby settlements and changing habitat conditions of people, fish and wildlife. Especially in the densely populated countries like India and Bangladesh, where rivers are lifelines, projects like Tipaimukh will create adverse effect to a huge number of population and their habitats.

No wonder right from the start this project faced protests from potentially affected people in India, and from the downstream neighbor Bangladesh. The people of Manipur have been fighting legally to stop the project but have so far been unsuccessful. The Indian government is going ahead with the plan. The Sinlung Indigenous People Human Rights Organisation (SIPHRO) of India said that “the process for choosing it (the project premises) ignored both the indigenous people and the recommendations of the WCD (World Commission on Dams)”.

From Bangladesh journalist and blogger Dhibor says:

এই বাঁধ তৈরির কি অজুহাত হিসেবে বলা হচ্ছে, আসামের বন্যা নিয়ন্ত্রন এবং জল বিদ্যুত উৎপাদন করে, উঃ পুর্ব ভারতের মানুষদের প্রভুত কল্যাণে এই বাধ নির্মিত হবে। পাঠকদের জ্ঞাতার্থে জানাচ্ছি যে, আন্তর্জাতিক পানি আইন অনুসারে, ভাটির দেশের পুর্ণ সম্মতি ছাড়া এবং পরিবেশের ক্ষতি করে কোন দেশই একতরফাভাবে নদী শাসন করতে পারবে না। তবে পরিতাপের বিষয় হলো, আন্তর্জাতিক আইন মানতে কোন দেশ বাধ্য নয়। এখানে জোর যার মুল্লুক তার হিসেবেই এই আইন প্রযোজ্য। ভারতের তুলনায় আমাদের অর্থনৈতিক-সামরিক বা খুটির জোর অল্প বলে, আমাদের মার খেয়ে যেতেই হচ্ছে।

উঃ পুর্ব ভারতের অধিবাসিদের নাকের সামনে টিপাইমুখি বাধের মুলো ঝুলিয়ে রাখা হলেও, তারা পঃ বঙ্গের অধিবাসিদের মত ভোলেননি। তাই এই বাধের বিরুদ্ধে সেখানে তীব্র প্রতিবাদ হচ্ছে। মনিপুরের ২০টি প্রভাবশালি সামাজিক রাজনৈতিক সংগঠন, “একশন কমিটি এগেইনস্ট টিপাইমুখ ড্যাম” এর ব্যানারে রাজপথে নেমেছেন। কারণ এতে উঃপুর্ব ভারতের লাভের চেয়ে লোকসানটাই বেশি হবে। আর প্রভুত ক্ষতি হবে পরিবেশের।

It is being said that this dam is being built for the greater interest of the people of North Eastern India by controlling the rivers to prevent flood in the Asam region and producing electricity. An information for the readers: according to international laws, without the consent of the downstream river nation and causing environmental damage no one country can control the multi-nation rivers alone. But the sad fact is that nobody cares for these international laws. The might is always right while interpreting these laws. As Bangladesh is not so powerful like India in economic and military contexts we always are pushed aside.

Residents of the North Eastern parts of India were pampered with many baits of the Tipaimukh dam project, but they kept their cool. About 20 influential socio-political organizations in Manipur have united in the banner of “Action Committee against Tipaimukh Project” and are protesting against the project. The reason – this dam will bring more miseries to those people than the profits pledged. And there will be severe damage to the environment.”

From India Namdingpou Kamei at E-Pao lists the losses and destruction this dam will bring to the local people.

# A total area of land 286.20 sq. km will be submerged forever.
# Barak waterfalls and Zeilad Lake, which are connected with the history of the Zeliangrong people, will be forever underwater and all folklores and legends will have no monuments’ proof and it will become a make up story for the next generation.
# More than, 40,000 people will be rendered landless.
# Eight villages situated at the Barak Valley will be completely underwater.
# More than 90 villages mostly of Tamenglong district will be adversely affected.
# About 27,242 hectares of cultivable land will be lost. [..]

The Indian government has offered the Manipur state 10% free electricity (i.e. 40 MW) from the project in exchange of above.

The Hmar indigenous population of North East India fears that:

if the government plows ahead with its proposed dam “thousands of outsiders” will come to settle in the area and as a result the Hmars will be exposed to changes like never before to new culture, economy and politics.

Dr. Soibam Ibotombi of Dept. of Earth Sciences, Manipur University says that the dam will be a geo-tectonic blunder of international dimensions:

The site selected for Tipaimukh project is one of the most active in the entire world, recording at least two major earthquakes of 8+ in the Reichter Scale during the past 50 years. The proposed Tipaimukh HEP is envisaged for construction in one of the most geologically unstable area as the proposed Tipaimukh dam axis falls on a ‘fault line’ potentially active and possible epicenter for major earthquakes.

At BanglaPraxis the impact of Tipaimukh dam in Bangladesh has been discussed.

Paribartan Bangla writes [bn] that several campaigns are ongoing in Sylhet, Bangladesh protesting the Tipaimukh dam. The blogger describes:

এই বাঁধ নির্মিত হলে সিলেট, সুনামগঞ্জ, মৌলভীবাজার, হবিগঞ্জ, ব্রাহ্মণবাড়িয়া, কিশোরগঞ্জ, নেত্রকোনা, নরসিংদী ও নারায়ণগঞ্জ জেলাসহ দেশের সমগ্র উত্তর-পূর্বাঞ্চলে মারাত্মক পরিবেশ ও আর্থিক বিপর্যয় নেমে আসবে। কৃষি, মৎস্য, জীববৈচিত্র্য হুমকির মুখে পড়বে। বর্ষাকালে প্রবল বন্যা আর শীতকালে পানির জন্য হাহাকার দেখা দিবে।

If this dam is built then the whole North Eastern Bangladesh, especially Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulavibazar, Habiganj, Bramhonbaria, Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Norshingdi & Narayanganj districts will face severe environmental and economical consequences. Agriculture, fisheries and wildlife will be under threat. There will be more flood in rainy season and less water in dry season.
No to Tipaimukh Dam

No to Tipaimukh Dam

Blogger Agami calls other bloggers [bn] to engage in online and offline campaigns to stop the project. A Facebook group has already been created by the bloggers. An online petition has been launched by the “Action Committee against Tipaimukh Project”.

Anandomoye writes [bn]:

উন্নত দেশগুলো যখন স্বল্প ও দীর্ঘমেয়াদি কুফলের কথা বিবেচনা করে বাঁধের মতো অবকাঠামো নির্মাণের মাধ্যমে প্রকৃতিকে নিয়ন্ত্রণের দুর্বুদ্ধি থেকে পিছিয়ে আসছে, সেখানে ভারতের এমন একটি বাঁধ নির্মাণের প্রস্তুতি আরো গভীর পর্যালোচনার দাবি রাখে।

When developed countries are backing out from controlling the nature through infrastructures like building dams, keeping the long term effect on environment in mind, the decision of India to build this dam requires more introspection.
  • Shakil

    This problem is number 1 problem for Bangladesh right now. There is no opportunity to avoid this problem. Govt., Intelectuals, media,mass people above all every body should go for protest this devastating plan.

    It is nothing but a death trap of Bangladesh.

  • Habibur Rahman Kabir

    Bangladesh government should raise this issue very strongly to the United Nation and have to start campaign internatonally to stop to build this dam for saving their country from man made diseaster by India.

    • Mustofa Munir

      The recent statements of some ministers and deputy ministers of Bangladesh government went in favor of Indian government to complete Tipaimukh dam, made us to believe that no protest would raise to United Nations from the present Bangladeshi government. This is unprecedented that a government of a country does not care for its own people’s interest and its country’s interest.There are more pressing Indian demand like seeking corridor ( in the name of Asian highway).. more issues like incomplete report on Pilkhana Tragedy, arresting top level NSI officials,
      made us clear that this is time to be united to save Bangladesh.

      • Syed Ahmed

        Bangladeshi people were eagerly waiting to see the present govt solve the long due outstanding problems with India i.e Ongorputa enclave,thin bigha corridor and marine boundary.Bangladeshis are grateful toIndia for their help and generousityduring the Liberation War of Bangladesh.What kind of generous neighbor India is who is turning Bangladesh into desert by illegally building barrage in the international river.It is very shocking and unfortunate to hear Bangladeshi ministers speaking more like Indian minister than of Bangladeshi.Witnessing the devastating effects of Farakka,Hon.Prime Minister Sheikh Hassina must speak out publicly against the Tipaimukh barrage soon before it is too late.It would be in the best interest of her and the country,to assure the people of Bangladesh,that she would take all necessary steps to stop the barrage.She must always remember that she is the Prime Minister of around hundred fifty million people.This is asacred Trust AllahS.W.T. has bestowed upon her to be tested.

        • ismat ara khanum

          dear foreign minister
          please take proper initiative against neighbour Indias aggression of Tipaimukh Dam .Now a days ,
          Bangladesh under at high risk of climate change .This dam felling us in an awful situation .
          lubna
          education officer
          DPE Dhaka

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  • mollika

    This dam will be problematic for Bangladesh. In rainy season excessive flood and in dry season no water in north-east part of our conntry. India should follow intl water laws for constructing such dam. We need help from United Nations regarding this matter and discussion is very urgent in ministerial level.

  • DR. RAWNOK

    This dam will be harmful for that local region, Specially some part of Bangladesh, Please join with us to protest this type of activity which one can create the natural disaster.

    • Kaiser E Alam

      Respected Dr. Rawnok,
      I must tune myself towards your comment regarding Tapaimukh dam. We must unite in no time to protest against this to protect ourself.
      If I am not wrong, are you Dr. Rawnok Jahan? Please let me know.
      Regards,
      Kaiser E Alam
      Student of Political Science, DU (1972 batch)

      • Kaiser E Alam

        Tipaimukh is a national issue. Because of numerous bad impact over Bangladesh

  • m.a.rahman

    There is no doubt about the adverse effect of tipaymukh dam on socioeconomy, environment, ecology of Bangladesh. Along with the people, Bangladesh govt. should raise protest in regional and international foram.

  • Rahman Chowdhury

    India has planned the costruction of Tipaimukh barrage in order to be able to exert more control on the political environment of Bangladesh. It knows very well that the barage would bring about very little economic or hydrolic benefit to the people of its eastern region. Nonetheless it is bent on the construction of the barrage. What is more painful is the complete silence on the part of the Bangladesh government. The Commerce Minister and the Minister of Water Resources have become advocates for the building of the barrage and blamed the crtics for opposing the project without knowing the details. If the honorable Minister has the details of the benefit the dam would generate for the people of Bangladesh why doesn’t he make it public. It is indeed shameful that Ministers of Bangladesh cabinet have chosen to be the Indian advocates for this suicidal project. Farakkha barage has brought about colossal damage to the people of Rajshahi, Kustia, Pabna and Jessore and the proposed Tipaimikh would do similar, if not more, damage to the people of greater Sylhet, Mymensigh, Comilla and part of Dhaka districts. Since Awami League government maintians a friendly relation with New Delhi it is well placed to take up the issue with New Delhi’s government and seek a diplomatic solution. The inaction on the part of Bangladesh government would make the issue a truly political and make it much more difficult for solution. The People of North Eastern India can very well live without this dam but people of Bangladesh cannot survive with the dam. If the problem cannot be resolved by the two governments rather promptly, people of Bangladesh would gradually turn more hostile to India. This will be neither desirable nor beneficial to either India or Bangladesh.

  • Faruk Ali

    I would say every one should send an email to Foreign Minister in Bangladesh DR. Dipu Moni and send a copy of it to SAARC authority.

  • Akhtar Hossain

    Tipaimukh Dam is a life and death issue for the people living in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh, specially, in the Megna River Basin area. No Bangladeshi can just sit idle over the looming problem.

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