Dhaka should reject Delhi’s Tipaimukh proposal
It is, indeed, worrying that in the midst of outcry of environment activists of Bangladesh and India against Delhi’s plan to build a dam on Tipaimukh, the Bangladesh government has reportedly received a proposal from the central government of India to make investments in the controversial dam. Moreover, reports have it that Dhaka has not yet officially communicated its response to Delhi on the issue. Concerned about Delhi’s mischievous proposal and Dhaka’s silence over it, two Bangladeshi organisations working to save the environment, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan and Jatiya Nadi Rakkha Andolan, jointly urged the government on Monday to reject immediately the Indian proposal for investments in the Tipaimukh project, which poses a serious threat to Bangladesh’s river system, livelihood and ecological balance. The environment activists also urged the government, as reported by New Age on Tuesday, to include genuine experts and specialists in the Bangladesh-India joint survey team on the proposed dam.
In the past few years, environmentalists of Bangladesh have deeply analysed and explained as to how the dam, if built, would contribute to the drying up of rivers such as the Surma, the Kushiyara and the Meghna and why the Sylhet region would be flooded during rainy seasons. The environment activists in the Indian states concerned have also been protesting against the proposed dam for quite some years now. The political establishment in Delhi, on the other hand, refuses to heed the loud concerns about the possible adverse implications of the dam in both the countries. At the diplomatic level, Delhi is giving rhetorical assurances to Dhaka that it would not do anything in Tipaimukh affecting the interest of Bangladesh although it is proceeding with the project without, even before the mutually agreed joint survey is conducted to examine the possible impact of the controversial dam. The political incumbents in Dhaka do not appear to have taken any strong position against Delhi’s dubious steps. Under the circumstances, Delhi’s proposal to invest in the dam appears nothing more than a cunning attempt to involve Dhaka in a project against the economic and ecological interest of its own people. The environmental activists have, therefore, rightly observed that committing to the project would be a ‘blunder’ on part of Bangladesh and urged the government to immediately reject the Indian proposal. Their suggestion about the inclusion of well meaning experts into the team of joint survey also sounds important, the last thing Bangladesh needs is to rubber-stamp the Indian desire to get the survey report okayed for constructing the damning dam.
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