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TIPAIMUKH MUST BE STOPPED
The Prime Minister of India has announced that it definitely is constructing the Tipaimukh dam. This will damage the ecosystem of the surrounding area including Bangladesh. We definitely do not want that. We need to get together and make a very loud noise to shake the world and stop India. If a country dies, who lives? If a country lives, who dies?
India is doing it with total disregard to the calls of the people of Barak valley (people from both upstream and downstream) and without joint detailed and independent Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), which is required under the Environment Protection Act 1986.
There has been no meaningful public consultation. Neither is there Environment Management Plan (EMP) for formulating, implementing and monitoring environmental protection measures (during and after the project) nor there any Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan!
The UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged the government of India not to construct the Tipaimukh Dam in its concluding observation of the Seventieth session from February 19 to March 9, 2007 and in its special communications made on August 15, 2008; March 13, 2009 and September 23, 2009. The Forum further urged authorities concerned to follow free, fair and prior informed consent of the people under the ILO Convention 107.
The 163m high dam of 1500 MW will submerge more than 286 sq. km of prime farmland upstream and dry up a huge area of wet land. One third of Bangladesh and lives of 40 million Bangladeshis will be affected.
India is certainly violating international laws and conventions. We just want them to obey these laws and conventions. The Tipaimukh dam project is violating United Nations:
1. Helsinki Rules (1966)
Every country with Common River must consider the usage of water in a way that does not affect any countries’ economical and social environment. Consideration must be given to the total harm it might bring on the affected countries.
2. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (the UN Convention), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 May 1997.
Aims at ensuring the utilization, development, conservation, management and protection of international watercourses, and promoting optimal and sustainable utilization thereof for present and future generations.
3. UNEP Convention on Biological Diversities, 1992
Every Country is resolute to preserve the environmental and biological atmosphere of the world.
4. Ramsar Convention on Wet Lands 1971, arranged by the UNESCO
Every Country in the world is committed to safeguard water reservoir for the preservation of Aquatic ecosystem and natural environment.
5. World Commission on Dams (WCD) 1998, Established by World Bank and IUCN
If any country wants to build any big Dam it must consult with the inhabitant of that river basin so that the project is acceptable to them (It has to be stressed that this acceptance must be by the people of that basin not by the government).
N.B: If any Dam is higher than 15 metres and can contain more than 3 million cubic metres of water, the World Commission on Dams considers it a big Dam. It has to be noted especially here that the Tipaimukh Dam will be 11 times higher and will contain 500 times more water than the concept of big dam above.
As we depend on agriculture and some of your villagers say, we cannot eat electricity, we must not be lured by the possibility of getting electricity from India. This is a question of right to basic livelihood.
How long must we wait, while our fundamental and basic rights are denied? Let us unite to demand:
Cancel the Tipaimukh Dam project; let the river run free and be with us. Let us do the right thing for ourselves, for our future generations and for our natural heritage.
United Nations must oversee the whole matter and initiate the establishment of a regional water commission with affected country and ensure rightful water supply for Bangladesh.
*By Farakkah, Tista and other Barrages India is controlling our water. As a consequence, we are losing 100 billion taka every year from our economy as northern part of Bangladesh is turning into a desert. We rightfully want to demand compensation for those losses from India.
*Until and unless our water interest is guaranteed, Bangladesh with the assistance of other friendly countries must create pressure on India from the international community to ensure its rightful water shares in common rivers.
*To strengthen the position of the Government of Bangladesh and to inform the world about severe consequences of India’s dam projects on trans-boundary rivers, we need to reinforce our efforts for the success of the water protest. We all Bangladeshis, irrespective of where we live in the world, political views and religion, must participate in the protest.
Very dangerously the Tipaimukh dam is situated in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1890 there was a 8.7 rector scale earthquake and it’s usually repeat every 100 – 200 years. If the dam vanishes, 10 million lives will perish.
Some experts are saying that the Tipaimukh dam is more dangerous than an atom bomb.
India has failed to share with Bangladesh any data on the dam project and signed a joint investment agreement with a commercial company and the state government on the construction of Tipaimukh Dam and a hydroelectric project without informing Bangladesh. It broke its earlier promise that it would not take any steps regarding the dam that could harm Bangladesh.
Therefore, we can no longer trust India and are making our petition to the highest authority of the world, The UNITED NATIONS, to enforce international laws and conventions.
Atiqur Rahman Khan Eusufzai. Chairman, International Farakka Committee, Inc, New York. firstname.lastname@example.org www.farakkacommittee.com
Advocate Abed Raja. President, Sylhet Divition Development Action Council, Dhaka, Bangladesh. email@example.com;
Dr. Hasanat Husain. Convenor, Voice For Justice World Forum www.voiceforjustice.org /
Barrister Attuar Rahman, Chairman and Mirza Ashab Baig, General Secretary Greater Sylhet Development and Welfare Council (GSC) in UK http://www.gscuk.org/
K M Abu Tahir Chowdhory Coordinator U.K. M.H. Mamun coordinator; Canada. Md. Abdul Malik (Parvez) Coordinator Birmingham U.K.