'PM tells Bangladesh will look at dam issue' | india | Hindustan Times
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'PM tells Bangladesh will look at dam issue'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina he will examine a dam project that is drawing fire from Bangladeshi politicians and pressure groups, local media said on Thursday.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2009 14:18 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina he will examine a dam project that is drawing fire from Bangladeshi politicians and pressure groups, local media said on Thursday.

Critics fear the dam in Manipur could cause two Bangladeshi rivers to dry up, and desertification in eastern Bangladesh.

The Indian plan entails a 1,500 megawatt project at Tipaimukh on the Barak River which flows from the northeast into Bangladesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

Hasina met Singh at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on the sidelines of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, on Wednesday, to discuss bilateral issues including the dam.

"After patiently listening to our opinion on the Tipaimukh dam, Prime Minister. Manmohan Singh said he will take up the issue and will not take any step that will harm friendly relation between the two countries," Bangladesh media quoted Hasina as telling Bangladeshi journalists accompanying her at the summit.

New Delhi commissioned the Farakka Barrage in 1974 on the Ganges river along Bangladesh's northern border to divert water to the river Hoogly to keep the Kolkata port navigable.

As a result, Bangladesh faced severe water shortages during winter until a 30-year agreement was signed in 1996 to share the flow.
Critics of the new project cite environmental experts as predicting similar effects from it.