Khaleda for non-partisan experts for joint Tipai Dam survey
India wants peaceful democratic Bangladesh: Pranab
Reported on: May 06, 2012 20:38 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, May 6 (UNB) - BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday urged India for including non-partisan experts in the proposed sub-group underBangladesh-India Joint River Commission for carrying out a joint surveyon the feasibility of the proposed Tipaimukh Dam over the common river Borak.
The opposition leader came up with the suggestion when visiting IndianFinance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met her at her Gulshanoffice at 4:35 pm.
After about a 45-minute meeting, BNP vice chairman Shamsher MobinChowdhry briefed reporters.
During the meeting, Shamsher said, Indian Finance Minister Pranab raised the Tipaimukh issue and informed that a sub-group may be constituted with experts under the Joint River Commission to review and examine each and every matter of the Tipaimukh Dam.
Khaleda said not only government experts, but also non-partisan experts outside governments should be included in the proposed sub-group.
In response, Pranab said they have no objection to it, Shamsher told reporters.
The BNP chairperson also suggested carrying out a study by the experts of Bangladesh, India and other countries to examine whether Sylhetwill be affected if earthquake hits the Tipamukh Dam site as it is a tremor-prone area.
Khaleda told Pranab that India should assure the people of Bangladesh that the proposed Tipaimukh Dam would not harm Bangladesh.
Shamsher said Pranab mentioned that people in a number of Indian states are carrying out movements against the Tipaimukh issue.
Replying to a question, Shamsher said Pranab informed Khaleda Zia that construction work on the Tipaimukh Dam has not started yet.
Answering a question whether BNP will have any objection to the Tipaimukh Dam if the proposed study says there will be no negative impact of it on Bangladesh, Shamsher said it would be reviewed step by step through discussions and scrutiny.
On India-Bangladesh relations, the BNP vice chairman said the Indian Finance Minister said India wants to maintain good relations with Bangladesh, but not with some particular parties.
Pranab said India wants a peaceful democratic Bangladesh adding that the election system in Bangladesh should be maintained as per its people’s wish.
No decision should be taken unilaterally, he said.
Khaleda appreciated the election system of India saying it would take time for Bangladesh to reach that stage. Each country has different system, she said.
Khaleda said the people of Bangladesh want free, fair and neutral elections the results of which would be acceptable to all.
As Khaleda wanted to know about agreement on the Teesta River water sharing, Pranab apprised her that initiatives for forging a national unity in India over the matter is underway and if it progresses well then it may be implemented.
Khaleda said a technical survey is necessary before reaching an agreement.
As she raised the killing of Bangladeshis along the border by Indian BSF, Pranab said the Indian government has directed its border guards to bring it down.
Khaleda insisted that killings along the border should be stopped as it casts a negative impact on the minds of Bangladeshis and the relations between the two countries.
The former Prime Minister also stressed immediate resolution of the outstanding issues, including demarcation of the 6.5-kilometer border area and enclaves, through discussions. She said it would help minimise the gap in trust between the two countries.
Pranab, on behalf of the Indian government, invited Khaleda to visit India at a mutually convenient time. Khaleda gladly accepted the invitation.
She conveyed greetings to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling Congress president Sonia Ghandi.
BNP chairperson’s advisers Reaz Rahman and Sabihuddin Ahmed and Khaleda’s press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Sawran were present at the meeting.