Sources: NHPH and the American Association of Bangladeshi Engineers and Architects archive.
Despite opposition, the National Hydro Power Company has inked a Promoter's Agreement with SJVNL and Government of Manipur for execution of the 1,500 MW Tipaimukh Hydroelectric Project in Manipur.
The Promoter's Agreement was signed in the presence of Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh by chairman and managing director, NHPC ABL Srivastava here on October 22, 2011 without even informing Bangladesh government.
NHPC signed the Promoter's Agreement with SJVN Limited and Government of Manipur for setting up a Joint Venture Company (JVC) for implementation of the project in Manipur.
The Tipaimukh Hydroelectric Project has been conceived as a multipurpose storage project on the Barak river with the main objective of hydropower generation along with flood control on 2039 Square kilometres in the upstream.
In the Bangladesh-India joint communiqué issued during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Delhi visit in January 2010, the Indian Premier assured Bangladeshi Prime Minister that `India would not take unilateral steps on the Tipaimukh project that would adversely affect Bangladesh'. But the Indian Prime Minister did not even consider to inform his Bangladeshi counterpart. This disrespect to Bangladeshi Prime Minister by the Indian Prime Minister hurts the feeling of all Bangladeshis worldwide.
The Barak river has entered into Bangladesh as the Surma and Kushiara on which the country's northeastern region depend heavily for agriculture and livelihood. The construction of the huge dam will dry up the two rivers in the greater Sylhet region while New Delhi assures that the dam would not adversely affect Bangladesh as the multipurpose hydroelectric project has no irrigation component.
Based on initial Indian documents this dam will increase the dry season flow on Surma Basin that will inundate huge arable areas that will reduce the much needed aman and boro rice production.
Since it's an issue of the national interest on October 2009, the American Association of Bangladeshi Engineers and Architects, Inc. AABEA) invited engineers and scientists with varied backgrounds in a seminar to understand this project from technical, economical, and social view points. The seminar reviewed the concerns and issues including the influence of impacted flows on hydrologic, economical, cultural, social, and ecological balance of the nation. The panel further concentrated its review on impact of rivers and flows originated Tippara Hills which ultimately discharging into Surma Basin. Panel also considered the severe shortage of food grains worldwide and its impact on Bangladesh since there is a shortage of arable farm land and this shortage is increasing every year.
Based on their findings AABEA drew its conclusion and on February 2010 sent all its recommendation to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The summary of that recommendation is as follows:
1. Tipaimukh Project should not be constructed without a full treaty with Bangladesh.
2. The treaty should be modeled like Indus Water Treaty under the auspices of World Bank or United Nations and the treaty must assure that no water will be diverted by India from the Barak River.
3. The treaty should spell out the operational aspects of the Dam. The operation of the Dam shall not cause widespread inundation of boro crop and release of the water from dam shall not inundate boro crop. In addition, an operational aspect of artificial flooding by pulsating flood of the Sylhet/Mymensingh area to create artificial but controlled flood during rainy season to flush the Haor Basin should be included. The frequency and amount of the pulsating flood should be determined by full hydrologic study of the area by the Bangladeshi experts.
4. India shall not construct Phulertal Barrage ever to divert water.
5. India shall sell power to Bangladesh from this project on a long term agreement basis.