Bangladeshi experts to visit controversial Indian dam project

June 16th, 2009 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, June 16 (DPA) A Bangladeshi team of parliamentarians and water experts is to visit an Indian dam construction project to assess its possible ecological effects on the country, a parliamentary panel said Tuesday.
“We have decided to send a delegation to India to witness its Tipaimukh project,” said Abdur Razzak, the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Water Resources Ministry.

Razzak, a former water minister, will head the 10-member delegation to India. The date of the trip was yet to be finalised.

The panel’s decision came following widespread protests against the Indian project on the river Barak, some 200 km upstream of the Bangladesh border, as many fear the project could cause desertification downstream.

The delegation is to report to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, who on Monday said Dhaka would come up with its formal reaction to New Delhi’s plan once she received the views of the delegation.

New Delhi recently assured Dhaka that the project would not adversely affect Bangladesh’s ecology.

In April, Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Sankar Menon asked Bangladesh to send a delegation to the project site to assess its impact.

Bangladesh has urged India to refrain from constructing the dam, located at the confluence of the Barak and Tuivai rivers. India began soliciting international bids for the dam in early 2006. Construction is scheduled to finish by 2012.

The Barak river feeds Bangladesh’s Surma and Kushiyara rivers in the northeast, eventually flowing down into the Meghna, one of the three main rivers in Bangladesh.

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