You are on page 1of 14


Tipaimukh Dam is a proposed embankment dam on the river Barak in Manipur state India. The purpose of the dam is flood control and hydroelectric power generation. The project has led to controversy between India and Bangladesh over water rights as well as controversy with Manipuri people to be relocated by the reservoir. While Hydroelectric projects are typically considered greener than other power generation options in short term, it has significant long-term impact to the environment like changes in the ecosystem, destroying nearby settlements and changing habitat conditions of people, fish and wildlife. Especially in the densely populated countries like India and Bangladesh, where rivers are lifelines, projects like Tipaimukh will create adverse effect to a huge number of population and their habitats. When developed countries are backing out from controlling the nature through infrastructures like building dams, keeping the long term effect on environment in mind, the decision of India to build this dam requires more introspection.

Proposed Tipaimukh Dam

The proposed Tipaimukh dam will be constructed 500 m downstream from the confluence of the Barak and the Tuivai rivers in the southwestern corner of Manipur (2414 N and 931.3 E approximately). The location of the Dam is shown in figure- 1.

Figure 1: Location map of Tipaimukh Dam. The dam would be an earthen- rock filled dam to be constructed with the length of 390 m and height 162.8 m at an altitude of about 180 m above mean sea level with a maximum reservoir level of 178m. The dam was originally designed to contain floodwaters in the lower Barak valley but hydropower generation was later incorporated into the project. The project will have an installation capacity of 6250=1500 MW and a firm generation of 412 MW. The dam would be completed by the year 2012 at a cost of Rs 4000 crores .The total area required for construction including submergence area is 30860 ha of which20,797 ha = forest land,1,195 ha = village land, 6,160 ha =horticultural land, and 2,525 ha =agricultural land. As per estimates of the authorities themselves, the project will totally affect 311sq. km and 8 villages, 1461 Hmar families in all. The projective date of completion is the year of 2012 & implementing agencies are North-

Eastern Electronic Power Co-operation (NEEPCO).The project cost estimated by the NEEPCO is Rs. 5225.70 Crore. It was reported in 2005 that the revised cost of the project was Rs 6351 crore.
Tipaimukh Dam as proposed will have the following facts: Location: Lat 24o14N, Long 93o1E Height: 161m Length: 390m Area: 29,150 hectare Design flood discharge: 16,964 m3/sec Average annual yield: 12.5 billion m3 Dependable yield (90%) : 8.1 billion m3 Power generation: 1500 MW but dependable is 412 MW

The approximate location of the dam is about 500 meter downstream of the confluence of the Barak and the Tuvai and 190 kilometers upstream of the Bangladesh border. The dam is planned to be a rock-fill dam with a central clay core to act as impermeable barrier to water seepage. The height and capacity of the spillway(s) are also not known.

Bangladeshi experts have said the massive dam will disrupt the seasonal rhythm of the river and have an adverse effect on downstream agriculture and fisheries. The government of Bangladesh has decided to send an expert team to the Dam area to examine the features and likely impact of the dam on the flow of water into the Surma and the Kushiara. Another is the environmental factor. The Tipaimukh area lies in an ecologically sensitive and topographically fragile region. It falls under one of the most seismically volatile regions on the planet. A major earthquake of magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter Scale rocked Manipur-Myanmar border in the year August 6, 1988 at the epicenter of lat. 25748N 9590E, 240 km (150 mi) northeast of the dam site.

Figure 2: Proposed location of Tipaimukh Dam

No wonder right from the start this project faced protests from potentially affected people in India, and from the downstream neighbor Bangladesh. The people of Manipur have been fighting legally to stop the project but have so far been unsuccessful. The Indian government is going ahead with the plan. The Sinlung Indigenous People Human Rights Organization (SIPHRO) of India said that the process for choosing it (the project premises) ignored both the indigenous people and the recommendations of the WCD (World Commission on Dams). As such, academicians, politicians, students and civil society organizations have formed the Action Committee against Tipaimukh Project (ACTIP) to oppose the project which will further deepen the cracks in Manipurs already fissured society. The construction of the dam will also benefit some groups at the cost of others. Matin says more than 20 social and political organizations, representing the largest communities, ethnic groups and political interests are protesting against the dam. We have a good understanding with them. The leaders of the groups believe that the unviable project design will also drive a wedge between communities that live in a state of unremitting conflict between themselves and with the state.

A Bangladesh journalist and blogger Dhibor says: It is being said that this dam is being built for the greater interest of the people of North Eastern India by controlling the rivers to prevent flood in the Asam region and producing electricity. Information for the readers: according to international laws, without the consent of the downstream river nation and causing environmental damage no one country can control the multi-nation rivers alone. But the sad fact is that nobody cares for these international laws. The might is always right while interpreting these laws. As Bangladesh is not so powerful like India in economic and military contexts we always are pushed aside. Residents of the North Eastern parts of India were pampered with many baits of the Tipaimukh dam project, but they kept their cool. About 20 influential socio-political organizations in Manipur have united in the banner of Action Committee against Tipaimukh Project and are protesting against the project. The reason - this dam will bring more miseries to those people than the profits pledged. And there will be severe damage to the environment.

Adverse Impacts of Dam

Impacts of the Hydroelectric Dam cause many adverse environmental and social impacts. A major conflict arises between development and biodiversity conservation when project is located in the wilderness area because such project impact upon prevailing patterns of allocation of land and resources to people and interface with various forestry and wildlife conservation objectives. By this time according to experts, India built the Farakka dam by violation all rules and turned to desert North-West part of Bangladesh due to like that a Farakka dam and created various types of adverse effects on the people and environment that the area of human life and livelihood became so hard. The water experts, environmentalists, earth scientists, the environment and those who think everyone is agreed, if the Tipaimukh dam is built negative effect on Surma and Kusiyara river basin of Sylhet. Also water flow will reduced of the Meghna due to reduced water flow of the Surma and Kusiyara. The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Maghna River Basin countries of the worlds large and dynamic fresh water for Bangladesh will face several threats because of GangesBrahmaputra-Meghna 15% of water flows comes through Meghna River. While wide variations occur from site to site, the environmental impacts of dams can generally fit within two categories: those due to existence of the dam and reservoir; and those due to the pattern of dam operation. A study in 2005 by the Bangladesh Institute of Water Modeling shows that during a drier monsoon season, when Bangladesh needs water for cultivation and fisheries, the dam will hold 27% more water in June, 16% in July, 14% in August and 4% in September than an average monsoon year. If India is construct the Tipaimukh Dam on uniform international Tipai River upstream of Bangladesh as like Farakka, experts expressed their opinion that it will be staggeringly devastating and damaging the following terrible adverse impact on the North-East part of Bangladesh. Environmental degradation, economic crisis and hydrological drought will cause irreversible damage. Suddenly, the free flowing Surma-Kushyara rivers will turn dry up remain so

far a major portion of the year (Nov-May) disrupting irrigation, agriculture, drinking water supply, navigation etc. Six to seventh months dry conditions will stop lesson recharge of ground water which over the years will lower the ground water level, affecting all drug wells, shallow tube wells, as it happened in north western region of Bangladesh as a result of drastic withdrawal of the Ganges water at Farakka. Agriculture that depends on surface as well as ground water will be affected seriously because of Dam. If water flow reduces in the Surma, Kushyara and Meghna rivers, saline water of sea will be affect to Sweet water and cultivated land of Meghna basin will be victims of salinity. As a result, it will cause serious damage to agriculture and fisheries, wildlife in numerous haors and los lying areas in the entire Sylhet division and some peripheral areas of Dhaka division. If India builds this dam, serious environmental and economical consequences will come down in the entire North-Eastern Bangladesh, especially Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Brahmaputra, Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Norshingdi and Narayanganj district. There will be more floods in the rainy season and less water in dry season. North- eastern green fertile soil will turn into dry waste land. It will be more dangerous than the Farakka. Massive environmental degradation will occur, drastically affecting weather and climate, turning a wet cooler habitat into a hot uncomfortable cauldron. Climate and environmental change will force the farmers reluctantly to resort planting low-yielding drought-resistant crops. Low velocity of water will cause siltation on river beds. When high rainfall will occur in the river drainage of the dam, huge quantity of sediment-laden flood water will be released which will cause severity of flood in the Surma and Kushyara channels which would be already raised for low flow. Navigation in river channels in the Meghna (combined Surma&Kushyara) will face depleted water flow and consequent sedimentation and severity of flooding in the wet season. Surface irrigation will be in jeopardy. The Meghna up to Chandpur will suffer from the adverse effects. Widely if normal flow of water is interrupted in the river, it will be filled up by silt soil and after that will be widely river break down as be created due to Farakka. The rivers of Bangladesh carry dissolved solid and 90% of them are HCO, SO 4, and Ca, Na, Mg, Hg, As, Cd and when it deposits on an area, it creates the soil and ground water pollution. These heavy metals are serious toxic and destroy our DNA. Cd and As will be causes human cancer, as like people have been affected by arsenic (AS) with fighting life and death in north-west regions of Bangladesh due to Farakka. According to Md. Ali Akbar Mollik, former Secretary General Association of Bangladesh Earthquake Tipaimukh Dam is located between of the Eurasian India and Myanmar tectonic plate that is one of the main earthquake areas in the world. In the last 100 years have been 16 major earthquakes above magnitude 7. The earthquake (8.7 magnitudes) in 1897 changed the flow of the Brahmaputra and created of the Jamuna River. He also said that the current Tipaimukh barriers, only 75 km away from events with more than seven magnitude earthquake occurred in 1959. The same magnitude earthquake may occur at any time and such an earthquake of 8 magnitudes Kelvin when the water 173 meters high and 16 billion cubic meter capacity Tipaimukh Dam will be destroyed completely. Sudden, huge amount of water reserved in the water channel momentum is so strong that Sylhet city will be under in 8 feet of water

within 24 hours and all up its will be floated as like straw. So, almost 30 million people at once will face unimaginable loss with environment as a downstream Bangladesh. He said if the Tipaimukh dam would be devastated its gruesomeness is so huge, that we shrink to imagine. That is why, the most reputed economist and historian Dr. Akbar Ali Khans comment that Tipaimukh dam will be as an atom bomb. On the other hand, according to the Water Development Board, the Biodiversity will loss one of the largest Hakalukihaor and the Muriahaor in the world. Also Rahimapuri canal, Moroi canal, Chagli Canal, Senapoti Canal, Mandi Canal, Teli Canal, Dasher Canal, Napit Canal, BalairHaor, FultoliHaor, MojumdariHaor, Dubai Haor, LasaitalaHaor with more small and large canal and haor entity to melted. They said the sudden flood in Bangladesh. The Geographic ecosystems will be affected if decreasing in the amount of ground water, and Sylhet forests will be severely damaged, declining production of the tea garden due to Tipaimukh dam. Therefore, 16 districts of Bangladesh to the river riparian will be desertification. 40 million people in 16 districts of the life and livelihood will break.[5] Arundhuti Roy mentioned about the Tipaimukh Dam in The Greater Common Good big barriers start in the loud laughter and end in tears. They locked in the developed world. Farmer knowledge and deprive him from taking that approach. Water, irrigation and land of the poor are the way of handed over to the rich as gift. These are the reservoir of people homeless, destitute. These are creating calamity environmental considering. These make trash to soil. Flood, submerge, salinity, drought and spread of diseases are consequences.

Impacts due to existence of dam and reservoir:

Imposition of a reservoir in place of a river valley (loss of habitat) Changes in downstream morphology of riverbed, delta, and coastline due to altered sediment load (increased erosion).] Changes in downstream water quality: effects on river temperature, nutrient load, turbidity, dissolved gases, concentration f heavy metals and minerals. Reduction of biodiversity due to blocking of movement of organism (e.g. salmon) & because of above changes.

Impacts due to pattern of dam operation:

1. Changes in downstream hydrology: a) Changes in total flows b) Change in seasonal flows c) Sort-term fluctuation in flows d) Change in extreme high and low flows. 2. Changes in downstream morphology & water quality caused by altered flow pattern. 3. Reduction in reverine/riparian/floodplain habitat diversity, especially because of elimination of floods.

Tipaimukhs Potential Ecological Cost on Bangladesh

BD gets 7-8% of its total water from Barak. Millions of people depend on this water. If India is construct the Tipaimukh Dam-

It will kill Meghna and all common rivers Will dry up Surma and Kushiara rivers in Winter season North-eastern green fertile soil will turn into dry waste land Will disrupt irrigation, agriculture, drinking water supply, navigation etc. Six to seven months dry conditions will stop/lessen recharge of ground water Will affect all dug wells, shallow tube-wells Will be just another Farakka Agriculture that depends on surface as well as ground water will be affected seriously Will destroy fisheries wildlife innumerous haors and low lying areas in the entire Sylhet division and some peripheral areas of Dhaka division It will drastically affect weather and climate Will turn a wet cooler habitat into a hot uncomfortable cauldron Massive siltation, flood and salinity Intrusion of saline water into crop lands, A total area of land 286.20 sq. km will be submerged forever. Barak waterfalls and Zeilad Lake, which are connected with the history of the Zeliangrong people, will be forever underwater and all folklores and legends will have no monuments' proof and it will become a makeup story for the next generation. More than, 40,000 people will be rendered landless. Eight villages situated at the Barak Valley will be completely underwater. More than 90 villages mostly of Tamenglong district will be adversely affected. About 27,242 hectares of cultivable land will be lost.

Figure 2 : Effects of Tipaimukh dam

Tipaimukhs Social damages in Bangladesh

Dams also have a range of social impacts such as relocation of communities, loss of community control over water, diseases, increasing economic inequalities: disproportionate share of project benefits usually go to wealthier sectors of society. However, the creation of reservoirs is not without costs and impacts of the followings: groundwater effects, landscape destruction, and destruction of fish habitat and fisheries contamination of. food chain with methyl mercury and other contaminants, increased epidemics, green house gas pollution, changes to climate, changes to the global environment: change in speed of earths rotation, changes to the shape of the earths magnetic field, destruction all upstream and downstream ecosystem, destruction of deltas and wetlands critical to migrating wildlife, changes to coastal ecology & extinction of some flora & fauna. The refugee problem will be shown due to environment and environmental disaster because people lose their traditional livelihoods. In this case, people will be spread around the region to save their lives. Food crisis and massive poverty will be increases. Bangladesh may lose up to $30 billion in every year. More than, 40, 00 people will be rendered landless. About 27,242 hectares of cultivable land will be lost.

Adverse environmental &social control Poverty in Bangladesh: due to loss of employments and livelihoods Massive migration and planet of slums Food crisis and poverty of women and children One million women and children will die of hunger: more than a Atom bomb attack BD may lose up to $30 billion a year Adverse political control by India

Tipaimukh will really become a Tipaii-mukh(shutting up mouth)!! Problems of host communities such compensation, employment, road construction, drinking water, aforestation to compensate the loss resulted due to the development works. Public agitations: due to misunderstanding between the host communities and the managing authorities cause campaigns and strikes against the authorities to make agree the project proponents to meet their demands. All these reactions of resentment ultimately affect production rates and its growth, ultimately hampering the growth of the country. Irrigation from hydro-power projects has numerous impacts, on forest and wildlife directly or indirectly, thus affecting the socioeconomic condition of the host communities. Multi-purpose projects often have only two components namely, irrigation and hydroelectric power. The integration of other purpose has not been a standard feature of project planning. Project-affected persons with the assistance of NGO have become more conscious of their rights both their fundamental rights as citizens and their traditional rights of use of rivers waters, forest produce and other natural resources. The Tipaimukh area is ecologically sensitive and topographically fragile. Some of these negative effects cannot be remedied or even mitigated; and in some causes efforts to mitigate or compensate for environmental impacts in turn will create further problems.

Figure : flood map of right bank of Kushiyara River Pre-dam

Figure : flood map of right bank of Kushiyara River post-dam

Figure : flood map of Sylhet-Moulvibazar district for pre-dam

Figure : flood map of Sylhet-Moulvibazar district for post-dam

Analysis of the epicenters of earthquakes obtained from the NOAA catalogue for the period 1868-2011shows that they are distributed in the weak zones comprising surface or subsurface faults. Most of the events are of moderate rank (Mb = 4-6) and lie at a shallow depth, which indicates the recent movements in the sediments overlying the basement rocks. In the northeastern region (Surma basin), major events are controlled by the Dauki Fault system and hence, it should be observed carefully. The earthquakes in the folded belt demonstrate shallow and low angled thrust behavior, which is conformable with the tectonic configuration of the region.

Demerits at a glance :
(i) The construction of dam will directly affect the livelihood of the people of northeastern state of India as well as on the people of Bangladesh (ii) Consequent displacement and destruction of the people by implementing the project will pose a grave threat to the vibrant democratic system of peoples right to live. (iii) The project once installed will submerge the exotic flora and fauna and rich gene pools as Manipur falls under one of the genetic hot spot zones of the world where rare biodiversity resources exist. (iv)There will be problem in displacement, resettlement, and rehabilitation and development issues. (v) The construction of dam will be a violation of fundamental rights to live in any part of India and right to protect the land as a residence of that particular area. (vi)It is totally a disregard of Zeliangrong ancient indigenous heritage. (vii) Not only the basin of Barak will be affected, it will also affect to its tributaries.

(viii) The livelihood of people of north-eastern districts of Bangladesh will be under the mercy of the outsiders.

Tipaimukh Dam & International Law

The Tipaimukh Dam project was entirely developed and approved without once informing the government of Bangladesh or involving its people in any meaningful exercise to assess the downstream impacts of the Dam. This is clearly a gross violation of co-riparian rights of Bangladesh. According to international laws, without the consent of the downstream river nation and causing environmental damage no one country can control the multi-national rivers alone. But the sad fact is that nobody cares for these international laws. The might is always right while interpreting these laws. As Bangladesh is not so powerful country like India in economic and military contexts we always are pushed aside. India should be conducted a joint survey with Bangladesh as a good neighbor. If India really wants to keep role as a good neighbor with Bangladesh, India will be agree to do this task. Otherwise, it would be reasonable consider as antagonism for Bangladesh. Therefore, Farakka dam such as death trap dam for Bangladesh, Tipaimukh will be another death trap dam for our country. Ask of aware patriotic people, is not take any decision individual without joint survey. People of Bangladesh can want like this to neighbor and friend country. But if the neighbor country is friend, will not try to desertification to Bangladesh and will not hand over the lives and livelihoods of the people of this country. India is doing it with total disregard to the calls of the people of Barak valley (people from both upstream and downstream) and without joint detailed and independent Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), which is required under the Environment Protection Act 1986. There has been no meaningful public consultation. Neither is there Environment Management Plan (EMP) for formulating, implementing and monitoring environmental protection measures (during and after the project) nor there any Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan! The UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged the government of India not to construct the Tipaimukh Dam in its concluding observation of the Seventieth session from February 19 to March 9, 2007 and in its special communications made on August 15, 2008; March 13, 2009 and September 23, 2009. The Forum further urged authorities concerned to follow free, fair and prior informed consent of the people under the ILO Convention 107. The 163m high dam of 1500 MW will submerge more than 286 sq. km of prime farmland upstream and dry up a huge area of wet land. One third of Bangladesh and lives of 40 million Bangladeshis will be affected. India is certainly violating international laws and conventions. We just want them to obey these laws and conventions. The Tipaimukh dam project is violating United Nations.

1. Helsinki Rules (1966) Every country with Common River must consider the usage of water in a way that does not affect any countries economical and social environment. Consideration must be given to the total harm it might bring on the affected countries. 2. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (the UN Convention), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 May 1997,Aims at ensuring the utilization, development, conservation, management and protection of international watercourses, and promoting optimal and sustainable utilization thereof for present and future generations. 3. UNEP Convention on Biological Diversities, 1992 Every Country is resolute to preserve the environmental and biological atmosphere of the world. 4. Ramsar Convention on Wet Lands 1971 arranged by the UNESCO Every Country in the world is committed to safeguard water reservoir for the preservation of Aquatic ecosystem and natural environment. 5. World Commission on Dams (WCD) 1998, Established by World Bank and IUCN If any country wants to build any big Dam it must consult with the inhabitant of that river basin so that the project is acceptable to them (It has to be stressed that this acceptance must be by the people of that basin not by the government).

Tipaimukh Dam is not the only water control structure that India is to build that will negatively impact the life and livelihood of Bangladesh. India has already completed 16 hydel projects in NE states, and has plan to build over 100 dams, which are at various stages of development, including Tipaimukh, Teesta, Loktak, Subansiri, Kameng, and Ranganadi. Plans for most of these projects are moving along smoothly without much objection from our government. Since these dams are not inside the mainland of India, the mainstream Indian media and environmentalists are not as vocal about their impacts. Being forgotten political parties and opinions lets go protest against the dam construction. Because it is a question of life and death. If these rivers live, we will live also and the sacrifice of the lives of our ancestors for the independence will be successful.

Reference M. AnowarHossain; Tipaimukh Dam of India: Probable Disaster for Bangladesh; ActionAid Bangladesh, Dhaka ( MohiuddinAlamgir; Indias Tipaimukh dam: another Farakka for Bangladesh in the offing?; NewAge Extra, Dhaka, June 12-18, 2009 Barrister Harunur Rashid; The Daily Star; Wednesday, December 21, 2011 Dr.s J. Ahmed; Tipaimukh Dam : The Consequence for Bangladesh, Bangladesh Farakka Committee ( M. InamulHaque; Tipaimukh Dam: For whose benefit?; The Daily Star, Tuesday, December 20, 2011 Tipaimukh Dam FAQ : Effects and Politics ( KhandakerMosharrafHossain; Seismo-tectonic risk of Tipaimukh Dam;The Daily Star; Friday, December 23, 2011