Shillong: Bangladesh has opposed the construction of two hydro-based power projects along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya until the two countries sign a water sharing agreement, Power Minister Clement Marak informed the state Assembly on Monday.
A Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) member in his letter to the Union Ministry of Water Resources had said the two dams might cause adverse impacts on various sectors in Bangladesh due to change of water flow, Marak said replying to a call attention motion moved by opposition United Democratic Party leader Paul Lyngdoh.
Meghalaya is in the process of constructing dams on two rivers -- the Mawphu dam across river Umiew and Myntdu dam across river Myntdu in East Khasi Hills and West Jaintia Hills districts, respectively.
The JRC member had also requested not to proceed with the construction of two dams until impact assessment on various sectors had been jointly conducted and water sharing agreements of the two common rivers had been signed by the two countries, the minister said.
While there was no further communication from the Ministry since 7 January last year with regards to offering a stake to Bangladesh in the two projects, the minister assured of no river diversion as such.
Marak said state-owned Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Ltd which was generating power from the Myntdu hydel power projects had informed the Ministry of Water Resources that the project would not have any water impoundment.
He said the the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd has indicated the same in their pre-feasibility report of Mawphu hydel project.
"The project shall utilise mostly the available discharge in the river, drawn through a 4.07 km-long tunnel to the power house generating 362.53 million units, meeting the same river downstream through a 45 meter-long channel," he said.
Paul in his calling attention motion said the opposition of Bangladesh in the power projects ran the risk of depriving power starved Meghalaya of its potential in the hydro-power sector, besides losing a lot of time in resolving the issue.
He urged the state government to respond to the issue at the earliest so that Meghalaya could benefit from the two projects.