The Centre has proposed to construct a large barrage on the Siang river in Arunachal
Pradesh in view of the potential threats from a huge dam being built by China in
neighbouring Tibet region, chief minister Pema Khandu informed the state assembly on
A major concern
During a zero hour discussion initiated by Congress member Lombo Tayeng, Khandu said
China decided to build the 60,000-MW dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo river (upstream of
Siang) in its 14th five-year plan.
Expressing concern over China’s mega dam project, Khandu said this would have a
cascading effect on downstream countries like India and Bangladesh in the near future
and added that several rounds of discussions have been held at the government level
and with the Brahmaputra Board on the looming threats from the Chinese project.
He said the Centre, too, has expressed concern about the position of Siang river once the
Chinese project is completed.
“We have to keep Siang alive. If there is diversion of water [by China], the dimension of
Siang will be reduced, or if water comes in large volumes, it will create massive floods in
the Siang valley and downstream areas in neighbouring Assam and Bangladesh,” he said,
adding that “in case of release of excessive water, we need to have big structures [like a
barrage] to protect ourselves from floods.”
The Yarlung Tsangpo river starts from Manasarovar lake and flows easterly about more
than 1600 km across Tibet before it bends towards the south-east around Namcha Barwa
peak to enter India at Gelling in Arunachal Pradesh where the river is known as Siang.
It flows for nearly 300 km in Arunachal Pradesh through Siang, Upper Siang and East
Siang districts before entering Assam, where the river is known as Brahmaputra.
The US has rejected China’s “standard map” and called on the nation to “comport its
maritime claims in the South China Sea and elsewhere with the International Law of the
Japan too has joined the protest against China for including the disputed Senkaku
Islands in the East China Sea in Beijing’s new map.