Dhaka will ask Delhi to conduct a joint survey of the Tipaimukh dam during the Bangladesh parliamentary delegation’s planned visit to the Indian capital as well as the dam’s site in the state of Manipur.
Bangladesh, according to officials of the foreign affairs and water resources ministries, will also request India to hold a minister-level meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission immediately after the visit of the parliamentary team.
Officials on Tuesday said that they would persuade India to convene the JRC’s meeting, that has remained stalled since 2005, where the issue of the Tipaimukh dam could be discussed at a high level.
The Bangladeshi parliamentary team, headed by Abdur Razzak, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the water resources ministry, is scheduled to reach New Delhi on July 29 on a five-day trip.
According to the tentative schedule, the delegation will meet Indian water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as well as the power minister on the first day of their visit.
‘Because of the monsoon, the schedule for the visit of the parliamentary delegation has been fixed on July 31 and August 1,’ said an official.
He said that the Bangladeshi parliamentary delegation would go to the project area on helicopter from Imphal, the capital of Manipur, either through Agartala or Guwahati as the dam’s site is located in a rather remote place.
Officials said that during the visit Bangladesh delegation will see the course of Barak River as well as project area of the dam, and hold talks with the concerned officials there.
According to the latest information received in Dhaka, a project office and approach road has been built in that area.
‘After visiting the site we will get the real picture of the project as well as Indian design for it. We did not get sufficient information from Delhi though we had earlier requested it to provide us,’ said a high official.
Referring to India’s latest communication, a foreign affairs ministry official told this correspondent that India has sent a document containing some data as well as maps of the project.
In a brief note, the Indian government mentioned that Tipaimukh dam would be constructed some 210km upstream on the Barak.
The proposed dam, with a capacity of containing 15,000 MCM of water and having a length of 165 metres, is being designed to produce hydro-electricity.
The project aims at producing some 1,500 megawatts of electricity and, according to India, will not have any component for facilitating irrigation by withdrawing water from the Barak.
The document also mentioned that the Tipaimukh hydro-electric project would reduce the danger of floods through the monsoon flow of the Barak while increasing the flow of water during the dry season.
At present the river is almost non-navigable during the non-monsoon period and the project will ensure its navigability, according to the Indian document, as quoted by an official.
The proposed Tipaimukh dam is said to include 12,756 sq kilometres of catchment area to preserve rain-water.
Source: The Daily New Age, 22 July 2009