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Dhaka Tribune

MPs voice concern over Chinese dam on Brahmaputra

Update : 25 Nov 2014, 08:03 PM

Two members of parliament yesterday voiced concerns in the house over China’s Zangmu dam project on the Brahmaputra River, demanding that the government take immediate measures to mitigate the negative ecological impacts of the dam.

Mayeen Uddin Khan Badal, a Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal member, stood at a point of order and demanded that the water resources minister give an in-depth and clear statement to parliament on the issue.

“We do not know how concerned the Bangladesh government is over the dam on the Brahmaputra River. Experts say it will adversely affect the country’s environment and ecology since the Brahmaputra River is the largest source of water flow in Bangladesh,” he said.

Badal said China had five more dams coming into operation on the river.

“I do not know to what extent our government knows about the dams. India strongly protested the project,” he said.

India has been the upper riparian in relation to Bangladesh and has diverted water above the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin paying little heed to Bangladeshi protests.

 Now China is the upper riparian since the Brahmaputra River originates in Tibet, and India is sharing the role of lower riparian alongside Bangladesh.

Extending his support to Badal, Bangladesh Nationalist Front chief Abul Kalam Azad also raise concerns over the situation.

The first phase of China’s 510MW hydro-power dam project on the Yarlung Zangbo River, the Chinese name for its segment of the Brahmaputra River, has commenced operations, the Times of India reported on Monday.

When the remaining five phases of the Zangmu Hydro-power Station in Tibet come into operation, probably no later than next year, it will likely to contribute to heightened flood and landslide risks in India and Bangladesh, both lower riparian countries.

Meanwhile, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury expunged the phrase, “there is no real opposition party in this parliament,” uttered by Rustom Ali Farazi, an independent lawmaker.

Farazi made the statement while criticising Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith’s remarks on Monday that most MPs who oppose some parts of a bill in parliament are ignorant.

Farazi and a number of other MPs had brought amendments to the Rajshahi Krishi Unayan Bank Bill.

Farazi yesterday said since there is no real opposition in parliament the MPs were helping government by offering constructive criticism.

Following the statement, Jatiya Party lawmaker Kazi Firoz Rashid requested the speaker to expunge the phrase. 

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