Farakka has proved to be an environmental disaster both for Bangladesh and India.Now the Indian Govt.'s plan to build Tipaimukh dam is going to be a severe disaster for Bangladeshi rivers.Indian Govt. is defying international laws and water treaties by going ahead with a project which is creating tension in the downstream Bangladesh. Tipai emits an air of eerie feelings India's secretive handling of Tipaimukh dam causing huge concern downstream Pinaki Roy Ignoring its promise, India in the last four years has refrained from sharing technical information with Bangladesh about building the Tipaimukh Dam in the bordering Manipur state, triggering public uncertainty and outcry over its possible negative impact on the neighbouring country. While India has not started construction of Tipaimukh dam on the Barak river near Manipur-Mizoram border, it had floated international tender in 2005 and opened the bid in 2006 during the era of former BNP-Jamaat alliance rule. In 2005, India promised to share with Bangladesh the project design, which is pending till date. Besides, the country also did not share any study report on the dam's impact on downstream regions. Experts told The Daily Star the construction of Tipaimukh dam would impose a great environmental threat to Bangladesh as four major rivers in the Meghna basin -- the Meghna, Kalini, Surma and Kushiyara -- lie downstream the Barak, locally known as 'Ahu'. Amid such concerns, the prime minister has recently said an all-party parliamentary committee will visit India to know about the issue. The schedule of this visit has not yet been set. Indian response to Bangladesh's worries has so far been remained confined within officially informing the government that they have not started any construction yet. "They also informed us that they would not construct the Phulertal barrage under the project," said Mir Sazzad Hossain, member of the Joint River Commission. At a Joint River Commission (JRC) meeting in September 2005 held in Dhaka India formally assured Bangladesh that they would not divert any water for their irrigation project, he said. Hiding any information by the upper riparian countries about the use of common rivers is considered as violation of the international water management convention. The expert warn of an increase in salinity in the Meghna-Surma basin, unusual floods in haor region, reduce in water flow in the Surma, Kushiyara and Meghna rivers in certain period, damage to the country's ecosystem and agriculture patterns in Sylhet region, among other impacts of the dam. A chain of severe impacts is very likely as Bangladesh gets 7-8 percent of its river waters through the Barak. Negative impacts of any large dam are very widely known around the globe. A detailed study by the World Dam Commission published in 2000 says adverse impacts of any large dams are irreversible for the lower riparian region. The study after reviewing 1,000 dams from 79 countries concludes in its report: "The environmental impacts of dams are more negative than positive ones and in many cases dams have led to irreversible loss of species and ecosystems." Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Pinak Ranjan Chakrabarti at a meeting with Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain recently said though his country will have sole control over water flow at the proposed dam site, it would not make any barrage. He also said Bangladesh would not be 'affected' by the dam. However, experts fear once the dam is set up, it may reduce the natural monsoon flood patterns in the Sylhet region, adversely affecting cultivation and livelihoods on a vast scale. "It will increase the risk of floods at the end of monsoon and hamper the agriculture patterns during winter," said Ainun Nishat, eminent river expert of the country. Rainfall patterns are changing due to climate change and a lot of rainfall takes place at the end of monsoon, said Ainun Nishat. If it rains at the end of monsoon, it will open the spillway gates of the dam and unusual floods will occur here, he added. They would preserve the water during monsoon after building the dam and release it in winter, which will increase the water flow downstream. "The land downstream the Barak in Sylhet region is wetland, where people grow crops during winter when it gets dry. If they release water during winter the wetland will be inundated and it will be a great impact on our agriculture," Nishat warned. An increase in water level in the winter will cause a major impact on the ecosystem if the wetland gets inundated, he added. He however said without checking every piece of information it is not possible to measure the total impact of Tipaimukh dam. The experts fear India may hold up water flow during dry season and divert water at the proposed Phulertal Barrage 100 kilometres downstream Tipaimukh and 100 km upstream Amalshid in Sylhet. The Phulertal barrage would have a direct bearing on the Surma, Kushiyara and Meghna rivers due to diversion of water for irrigation purposes in northeastern India. On hydropower component and rock fill dam, India claims no damage would occur to Bangladesh, but Bangladesh fears upstream water flow regulation. Director General of Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO) Jalaluddin Md Abdul Hye said, "We don't have enough information to talk about the issue."