India’s river linking project
Experts ask govt to move international courtStaff Correspondent
Academicians, members of civil society and former bureaucrats and diplomats on Saturday called on the government to take the issue of India’s river linking project to international forum to protect national interest.
Addressing a seminar, they said Bangladesh should use all the means, including seeking justice in the international court and bilateral or multilateral talks with India, to resist India’s mega project for linking rivers.
Non-government organisation the Centre for Sustainable Development organised the seminar on ‘India’s river linking project and Bangladesh’ in the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital.
They feared India’s move for linking rivers and the government’s ‘silence’ about the move.
They underscored the need for forging a national consensus.
Presenting a keynote speech on the occasion, former member of Indo-Bangladesh Joint River Commission Tauhidul Anwar Khan said engineers, scientists, economists and environmentalists across Bangladesh, Nepal and India had termed India’s project technically unsound, economically unwise, socially unacceptable and ecologically disastrous.
‘The project will jeopardise the lives and livings of millions of people in Bangladesh, Nepal and India,’ he said.
Coming down heavily on India, professor Dilara Chowdhury said none of the international convention or law did allow inter-basin water transfer.
She said India was going ahead with the project unilaterally ignoring international conventions.
Lawyer Fazlul Haque said the issue of India’s river linking project came to the fore in the backdrop of an order of Indian Supreme Court in last February to expedite the implementation of the project.
Against this backdrop, we have nothing to do, but to go to the international court to seek justice.
Institute of Development Strategy chairman Mustafizur Rahman said Bangladesh’s rights will never be realised unless it seeks justice from the international forum.
Former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury said Bangladesh must grow a mindset of being a sovereign state in negotiating with India.
BRAC university professor Piash Karim criticised the Bangladesh ambassador to India for his remarks that Tipai would not harm Bangladesh.
Former bureaucrat Mahbub Talukder criticised the government for its silence over the Indian government’s initiatives that would harm Bangladesh.
The CFSD secretary general Mahfuzullah conducted the seminar while the president of the organisation Anwar Hashim, also a former ambassador, chaired the seminar.
Among others, Dhaka university professor Mahbubullah and former secretary of Bangladesh government Zahurul Hossain also spoke on the occasion.
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