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No hasty decision on Tipaimukh dam: Pala
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUL 16:
Published on 17 Jul. 2010 12:44 AM IST
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Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Vincent H Pala Friday said opinions of all sections of people will be taken into confidence on the proposed construction of 1,500-MW Tipaimukh hydel power project in Manipur.
The mega-power project, one of the largest in northeastern India, is vital for meeting the increasing electricity demand in northeastern India has been opposed by environmental groups and opposition parties in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Views of the local indigenous people in those areas will be taken into confidence on the project, Pala told journalist here
However, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had told legislators in the Assembly (july 12) that his government is committed to go ahead with the controversial Tipaimukh project.
The public sector power utilities National Hydroelectric Power Corp (NHPC) and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) would develop the Rs.8,138 crore (Rs.81.38-billion/$1.7-billion) Tipaimukh project.
The project, located on the Barak river in western Manipur, is under attack from opposition parties and environmental groups in Bangladesh, which say it could cause desertification downstream in their country. Part of the Brahmaputra river system, the Barak bifurcates into the Surma and Kushiyara rivers on entering Sylhet district in eastern Bangladesh.
The Sinlung Indigenous People Human Rights Organisation (SIPHRO), an anti-dam group in Manipur maintained that any plans to build large hydro dams (Tipaimukh) should take into consideration the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams (WCD).
Indigenous peoples in different parts of the world have already disappeared due to sea-water rise and erosion and have also become environmental refugees due to big dams, SIPHRO Secretary, Lalremlien Neitham said.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chief Khaleda Zia had sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to abandon the project.
A 10-member Bangladeshi parliamentary delegation conducted an aerial survey of the Tipaimukh dam last July after opposition over the hydel projects possible ecological impact intensified in Dhaka.
Even Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) has categorically assured that no hasty decision will be taken on the issue. India would take into confidence Dhaka before going ahead with the project, so as not to hamper the friendly India-Bangladesh ties, Pala said.

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