India won’t divert water from Tipai

July 31, 2009

Bangladesh team assured in 2nd day’s talks; site visit today
India yesterday assured Bangladesh that there would be no diversion of water flow due to the Tipaimukh hydropower project on the Barak river in Manipur.
The assurance came during a meeting between Indian Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and the 10-member Bangladesh parliament delegation at the Shram-Shakti Bhawan that houses the Indian power ministry. India also said no construction work has started at the dam site in Manipur.
During the nearly 45-minute meeting, Indian officials shared with the Bangladeshi lawmakers data regarding water flow in the Barak during all seasons, including the mean water flow and lean season flow, Indian officials said.
They ruled out any diversion of water because of the project and in fact insisted that it will be beneficial for Bangladesh because it will help control the flood downstream and maintain a higher level of water in the Barak during the lean season feeding the Surma and Kushiyara rivers.
This is a significant development against the backdrop of worries in Bangladesh that the possible effects the Tipaimukh project would have on flow of water in the Barak and consequently the Surma and the Kushiyara and the Sylhet region.
The Bangladeshi MPs raised a number of queries regarding the project and articulated their concerns over certain areas, to which the Indian power minister and officials responded.
Emerging from the meeting, delegation and senior Awami League leader Abdur Razzak told reporters that, “India has once again assured us that no irrigation project would be constructed upstream or downstream of the Tipaimukh project.
Referring to his meetings with Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna Wednesday evening and Shinde yesterday morning, Razzak said both the leaders have assured that India would not do anything which would harm the interests of Bangladesh.
“Whatever they [India] do, they will do through discussions with Bangladesh,” he said, adding, “All issues can be resolved through talks.”
The delegation’s yesterday’s meeting with the Indian power minister was also attended by officials of India’s National Hydro Power Corporation, which will execute the Tipaimukh project, and external affairs ministry.
Indian officials said the Bangladeshi parliamentarians yesterday, “appeared satisfied by our replies”.
They said New Delhi has been very transparent by inviting the parliamentary team from Bangladesh and sharing with it the data on the Tipaimukh project and allowing it to visit the project site.
This was done as a “gesture of goodwill” towards the new government in Bangladesh, they said.
India is ready to share more information on specific aspects of the project if Bangladesh wishes, said the officials.
The meeting with the Indian power minister was the high-point of the second day of the five-day visit of the delegation which later left for Guwahati in Assam where they will have a night’s halt before flying to Tipaimukh project this morning.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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