BNP for 'neutral' water experts ----- Won't join Tipai team without themhttp://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/n ... ?nid=93652
Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farrouque yesterday said if neutral water experts are not included BNP will not join the all-party parliamentary team to visit Tipaimukh dam area. "We are ready to propose BNP lawmakers' name for the committee if the government sends a team of neutral experts with it," the opposition chief whip said at a press briefing at the Jatiya Sangsad Media Centre. BNP proposed five names of national level water experts -- Dr Ainun Nishat, former water secretary Asafuddowla, Dr Torofder, MA Rab and Dr Asif Nazrul - to incorporate into the team, he said.
"If the government does not do this, the visit to the dam will be meaningless," he added. Earlier on June 16, the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry formed a nine-member team comprised of lawmakers and experts to visit the Tipaimukh dam area to assess its impact on Bangladesh. But no BNP lawmaker was incorporated into the committee, as the party does not have any representatives in the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry.
The chairman of the parliamentary body, however, later urged the BNP to send a representative's name to include in the delegation. Zainul hoped the government would consider their proposal to face a national crisis like Tipaimukh issue and urged the government to include those five experts in the committee. BNP lawmakers Mahbubuddin Khokon, Nazrul Islam Manju and Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anee, among others, were present at the press briefing.
India 'consulted' Tipai construction ----- Claims Pinak Ranjan at seminar; says no int'l river treaty exists; Dipu Moni feels need for greater connectivityhttp://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/n ... ?nid=93654
Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty yesterday said India has "consulted" construction of Tipaimukh dam with Bangladesh after having the matter examined by their experts. "The perception that India has not consulted Bangladesh about building of the Tipaimukh dam is wrong and out of line," said Pinak Ranjan at a seminar. "The proposal of the project has been provided for Bangladesh," he added. "Feasibility and design of the dam has been examined by Indian experts," he told the seminar titled "South Asian Connectivity: Bangladesh Perspective," organised by Bangladesh-India Friendship Society at Hotel Sonargaon.
He however said informing Bangladesh about the dam was delayed as examination about it required much time. But he did not mention exactly when India consulted with Bangladesh in this regard. "Fear of earthquake or environmental hazard are hypothetical and never been substantiated by any scientific data. There is no scientific data," he added. "There is a perception and speculation that India is breaking international treaty. There is no international treaty in this regard. There is a UN convention in which at least 35 countries need to sign to turn the convention into a law.
"As of today only 17 countries signed this and it has not become a law yet. And interestingly, India and Bangladesh also did not sign," added Pinak Ranjan. Calling the dam a "death trap" is nothing but "scale mongering" and inciting people against India, he said, adding India has invited a team from Bangladesh to visit India and the site. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, chief guest at the seminar, said, "We need to build network and greater connectivity. Even the Saarc could not be made effective in all the years in the region due to lack of integration."
Three papers were submitted at the seminar. Prof Abul Barkat presented a paper titled "Economic implications of South Asian connectivity," while Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presented his paper titled "Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna regional cooperation in water and energy development and sharing". Adviser of Planning Commission Dr M Rahmatullah presented another paper, while former secretary Syed Margub Morshed and Dr Amena Hossain, among others, spoke. Former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University Prof AK Azad presided over the seminar conducted by Dr Selina Akter Jahan.
Reduce dependency on ground water ----- Speakers say at roundtablehttp://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/n ... ?nid=93676
Speakers at a roundtable yesterday underscored the need for taking immediate steps to reduce dependency on the ground water to save the country from environmental disaster. Suggesting for optimal use of surface water, they said a national consensus has to be built to save the sources of water - rivers, canals and wetlands - from pollution and encroachment. The speakers also said proper and strict enforcement of laws is a must to save the rivers and other water bodies. Media Forum for Human Rights and Environmental Development (MHED) and WBB Trust jointly organised the roundtable titled 'Source of safe drinking water: task to save rivers, canals and wetland' at the National Press Club.
Speaking as the chief guest, Abdur Razzak, chairman of the standing committee on the Ministry of Water Resources, said the condition of the country's environment reached such a level that it has become a great threat for the next generation. Branding Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakhha (Rajuk) as the most crime zone, he said there are many laws to protect the environment but those are not being enforced properly. "Almost all the wetlands surrounded by Dhaka city have been filled up," he said urging all to create massive awareness and resistance to save the wetlands and water bodies for the sake of the next generation.
Razzak lauded the ongoing campaign of The Daily Star and Channel i and said apart from this people will have to come forward to save the rivers, canals and other water bodies from pollution and encroachment. ASM Abdur Rob, former shipping minister, Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Paribesh Bachhao Andolan, Syed Mahbubul Alam, programme manager of WBB Trust and Rafiqul Islam Sabuj, executive director of MHED, also spoke. Sabuj in his keynote paper recommended formulating strict laws to save sources of safe drinking water. He also recommended formulating necessary policy to reduce the dependency on ground water.
Tipaimukh Dam ------ Dhaka won't accept anything that threatens environment ----- Says Abdur Razzakhttp://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/n ... ?nid=93678
Abdur Razzak, chairman of the standing committee on the Ministry of Water Resources, yesterday said that the government would do everything possible if the Tipaimukh dam proves to be a threat to Bangladesh's environment. Discussions would be the main process to realise the demands and the government will not accept anything that might have a negative impact on the country's environment, he told the reporters after a roundtable. Media Forum for Human Rights and Environmental Development (MHED) and WBB Trust jointly organised the roundtable titled 'Source of safe drinking water: task to save rivers, canals and wetland' at the National Press Club.
Abdur Razzak, also a presidium member of ruling Awami League (AL) and former water resources minister, urged all to be positive and work unitedly to this end. “Nothing can be achieved by showing warlike attitude. We have to be positive and be united for the greater interest of the country,” he said, adding, “We have to solve the problem through discussion.” He said a parliamentary delegation will soon visit the project site in Indian state of Monipur and representatives of all party will be there in the visiting team. Asked whether there is any BNP lawmaker in the delegation, he said they have asked BNP to propose a name and they are hopeful BNP will suggest a name soon.
Moudud demands team of experts
BNP leader Barrister Moudud Ahmed yesterday demanded forming a team of experts for visiting the Tipaimukh dam site and said his party would join the team only if it is a team of experts rather than a parliamentary one. He also suggested the government to go to international forums with the issue if needed. Moudud said this at a roundtable on 'Indo-Bangladesh Relations: Recent Developments' organised by Centre for Strategic and Peace Studies (CSPS) at Cirdap auditorium in the city. He also said the team that is formed to visit the Tipaimukh site would only legitimise the dam nothing else.
Former vice chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Emajuddin Ahmed said there should be political division in certain issues but when it is a national issue the country needs to get united. Manarat University Vice Chancellor and former Red Crescent Society Chairman Prof Mohammad Abdur Rob presented the keynote paper at the roundtable while former secretary and Chairman of CSPS Shah Abdul Hannan moderated the discussion. Former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury, journalist Sadek Khan and Jamaat-e-Islami Joint Secretary General Md Kamaruzzaman also spoke.
Gono Forum leaders have urged the government to take effective steps to resolve Tipaimukh dam issue through bilateral discussions by giving national interest the highest priority. They made the call at a party meeting at its office in the city on Saturday where they also demanded the government ensure immediate trial of war criminals. Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain, Abdur Rouf, Mofizul Islam Khan Kamal and Subrata Chowdhury spoke at the meeting with Pankaj Bhattacharya in the chair. Expressing concern over the law and order situation, they demanded amendment is some important laws like the one that reduced the power and activities of local government and the one that proposed provision in the budget to whiten undisclosed money.