Youth Parliament Against Dam Building on Teesta River

International Day of Action 2008 in Bangladesh
Teesta Youth Parliament held amidst enthusiasm

Dhaka, March 28, 2008

Report by Angikar Bangladesh Foundation

Teesta Youth Parliament, Dhaka, Bangladesh March 2008
Teesta Youth Parliament, Dhaka, Bangladesh March 2008
Angikar Bangladesh Foundation
This was a great day for the otherwise ill-fated Teesta. About 90 young boys and girls belonging to Teesta and other riverbasins of Bangladesh met on today in National Press Club, Dhaka, the capital city. The event was styled as TEESTA YOUTH PARLIAMENT- TYP. The Speaker of the parliament was a veteran Engineer of the country,Quazi Mohammad Sheesh. The parliament was convened on the occasion of International Day of Action for Rivers and against Dams.

"The Life and Death Bill of Teesta" encapsulated in multimedia special format was placed by the Teesta itself through the voice of Engineer Muhammad Hilaluddin, chief of Angikar.The multimedia Bill was colourful, full of pictures, facts and figures. The Bill disseminates certain worst news from where the Teesta originates in the Himalayas in Sikkim. 29 hydro-electric projects with 29 Dams are being constructed through the blasting of rocks and tunneling. This is a violent assault on nature threatening the ecology, biodiversity,indigenous habitat, livelihood of the Sikkim populace. The profiteering crazy capital has been crushing the finest
elements of the hilly civilization of Sikkim. The aforementioned Bill has saluted the struggling forces of Sikkim who have again gone on fasting for saving Sikkim from the atrocities of hydel companies since March 10, 2008.

The Bill mentioned about the Teesta Barrage built in Gojaldoba of West Bengal portion of Teesta which have been diverting water causing immense problem for the downstream, lower riparian Bangladesh. The Bill raised the wisdom of constructing a huge Teesta Barrage in Dalia of Northern Bangladesh without having guarranty from the upper riparian India. Already the Teesta Barrage in Bangladesh is about to become redundant and the funny part of the matters is that the second phase of irrigation projects are on the verge of implementation now.The Bill emphatically declared that Teesta being a common river of both Bangladesh and India, all the basin people of Teesta have the equitable share upon its riches. No part of Teesta people in Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh can be deprived from the Teesta resources. No authorities in any part of Teesta have the right to go for any unitary step harming the causes of others. The mindless profiteering lust of certain forces cannot rule the affairs of human civilization, the Bill unequivocally declared.

Engineer Ehsan Hafiz Choudhury of CEGIS, an expert on Teesta detailed the technical aspect of Teesta interventions. The Teesta Youth Parliamentarians expressed their viewpoints and raised pertinent points and questions. Mosabber Hossain , a development activist, stressed for organizing mass struggles along the Teesta basin. M. Anowar Hossain a researcher as well as a development activist advised to search for alternate conflict resolution in resolving multilateral water disputes following the examples across the globe. Mahboob Zaman, a veteran liberation warrior of Bangladesh, proposed to formulate one white paper from this parliament to submit it to the national parliaments of India and Bangladesh and to the appropriate bodies of United Nations.Sharifuzzaman Sharif of Citizan's Fraternity ( Nagarik Sanghati) and Agriculturist Kamal Gazi expressed solidarity with the TYP. Golam rabbi Raju, chief executive of NILACHAL, a Teesta basin organization and AlamgirKabir, coordinator, Green Voice spoke in favor of reinforcing peoples struggle. Among the parliamentarians, Humayun Kabir Sumon,Hirok Sardar, Monalisa, Md. Sadrul Alam, Tarikul Islam Ratul participated in the lively debates and discussions.

The Teesta Youth Parliament endorsed and voted YES to the contents and essence of 'The Life and Death Teesta Bill' unanimously.

Report: Arnab Sarker

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