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India keeping watch on China’s plans: Pala
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUNE 14
Published on 14 Jun. 2011 11:53 PM IST
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: Union Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent H Pala Tuesday said India is keeping a watch on China’s reported plan to divert the Brahmaputra river from its upper reaches.
“Though Chinese authorities have denied diverting the Brahmaputra river, but we are keeping a close watch on it,” Pala said.
The 2,906-km-long Brahmaputra is one of Asia’s longest rivers that traverses its first stretch of 1,625 km in Tibet, the next 918 km in India and the remaining 363 km in Bangladesh before flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
China’s plans of building a dam over the Brahmaputra river and diverting water into its arid provinces has been opposed by regional governments in India’s northeast.
India’s Foreign Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said that India has sought details from the Chinese government through its embassy in Beijing.
However, Pala said that the Indian government is aware of reports regarding construction of 55 reservoirs on Tibetan rivers in China including Brahmaputra.
In April 2010, Beijing has shared information with New Delhi about the construction activities at Zangmu hydropower station about 140 km southeast of Tibet’s capital Lhasa.
Meanwhile, the powerful All Arunachal Pradesh Student’s Union urged New Delhi to protest China’s plans to divert the Brahmaputra river from its upper reaches.
“China’s building a dam and diverting the Brahmaputra river from its upper reaches is a serious matter of concern for us in the region. New Delhi should act seriously now and it’s a matter of life and death for the people in the region,” Taba Ajum, the Spokesman of APSU, said.
Criticising New Delhi for not taking the issue seriously, Ajum said “the matter (China’s plans) now lies entirely with New Delhi. They should take it seriously rather than dilly dallying on this sensitive issue and China’s plan to build a dam or diverting the waters way of Brahmaputra has been in the news for many years now.”
The AAPSU Spokesman said the student’s body would be meeting in a day or two to discuss the issue.
The hill state of Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with China. The Central Electricity Authority has estimated the potential from 89 big hydroelectric projects in Arunachal at 49,126 MW while smaller ones are expected to generate another 1,600 MW.
According to reports, China is building a dam in the Himalayas to divert the Tsangpo river, which is the source river of Brahmaputra originating from the Himalayas in China.
Other experts say that if the project is commissioned, it would almost certainly have devastating consequences on the lives of millions of people in India and Bangladesh.
Apart from the dam, China is reportedly planning to divert 200 billion cubic metres of water to feed the Yellow River in an attempt to ease the acute water shortage in Shaanxi, Hebel, Beijing and Tianjin.
The “South-to-North Water Diversion” project is currently being debated in Beijing for its technical feasibility, reports say.
India and China do not have a water-sharing agreement. Until recently, water sharing was never on the agenda of bilateral talks between the two countries.
India and China fought a border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh.

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