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Tipaimukh Dam row: BNP says no to India visit

world Updated: Jul 26, 2009 19:05 IST

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Bangladesh's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has decided not to be part of a 10-member delegation, which will visit India to inspect the cross-border Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur.

While BNP has maintained that its two lawmakers will not join the delegation, a single member of its ally Jamaat-e-Islami has signalled not to participate in the visit by saying that he is "not well".

"We are not going to India as part of the parliamentary delegation. It is our party decision," the chief whip of the opposition in parliament, Zainul Abdin Farroque was quoted as saying by New Age.

The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, which has lone MP Hamidur Rahman Azad in the committee, did not submit his travel documents till yesterday.

Azad told the newspaper that he has met with an accident and said, "my participation has become uncertain because of my illness. Physicians have advised me to take rest."

The delegation led by parliamentary standing committee chairman on water resources Abdur Razzak will leave on Wednesday for a week-long visit to New Delhi and the project site in Manipur.

It will hold talks with Indian officials over the issue, as experts feared the planned dam upstream on the river Barak would adversely affect Bangladesh.

The team will assess the dam's possible impact on the environment and people's livelihood in northeastern Bangladesh.

Asking for cooperation from her arch-rival and BNP chief Khaelda Zia on the issue, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly asked the BNP to name two MPs as the party has no representation in the parliamentary committee.

Khaelda, in the meantime, has written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to abandon the project.

Bangladesh recently decided to send the delegation to the site as suggested by New Delhi while Dhaka requested India to keep the project work suspended until the visit.

India plans to construct a multi-purpose dam on the river Barak to generate 1,500 megawatts electricity and prevent monsoon floods.

New Delhi said the dam on the Barak River was meant for producing hydro-electricity, not to withdraw water for irrigation purpose to affect lower riparian Bangladesh.

India plans to complete the project by 2012.