After Tipaimukh, India is again planning unilaterally to build two hydroelectricity dams on two common rivers in its Meghalaya state, and Bangladesh has expressed concern over it.
The government has officially taken up the issue with the Indian authorities and expressed its concern, sources in the foreign and water resources ministries told bdnews24.com.
“We have learnt that they are planning to build two dams for producing hydroelectricity on Umiew and Myntdu rivers in Meghalaya state, which they cannot do without prior consultation with the downstream country,” said a senior official in the Water Resources Ministry.
“We asked them not to proceed with the projects,” he said.
“These two are common rivers and Bangladesh would not allow any construction on any common river without proper study.”
Citing example of Tipaimukh dam on Barak river in Manipur state, the official said, “Bangladesh raised its concern over Tipaimukh and now we are conducting a joint study on the impact of the dam on Bangladesh.”
The sub-group of the Joint River Commission (JRC) started its study in September this year and is expected to come up with a conclusion in Jan 2014, he said.
Although the Indian authorities were yet to give any feedback on the letter or communicate with the government about when they would provide any feedback, Bangladesh would raise the issue at different operational level meetings in the future, he added.
A foreign ministry senior official said the government sent the letter last week and another letter was expected to be sent next week.
“We will raise the issue at different platforms in addition to at the operational level meetings of the JRC,” he said.
“It can be a letter from our foreign ministry to the Indian foreign ministry or (we can raise it) at the Foreign Office Consultation or Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting,” he said.
Bangladesh and India are likely to have second JCC meeting in Dhaka in February next year, when Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid would visit Bangladesh to discuss all bilateral issues under the sun.
Myntdu river enters Bangladesh as Shari river and Umiew as Umiyam river.
Under the Greater Shilong Water Supply Scheme, Meghalaya is planning to build dam across Umiew river.
Bangladesh has 57 common rivers, and out of those, 54 with India. Dhaka has, so far, signed Ganga water sharing agreement with New Delhi.