Checking China: India to build multipurpose dam in Arunachal

New Delhi, Dec. 2:

Amid concerns over China building a major hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet, India too plans to construct a multipurpose reservoir in Arunachal Pradesh to offset its impact, a senior official of the Jal Shakti ministry said on Tuesday.

T.S. Mehra, Commissioner (Brahmaputra and Barak), in the Jal Shakti ministry said the multi-purpose 10,000 MW hydropower project is under consideration.

“This project will help offset the impact of the hydropower project by China,” he said.

He explained that the proposed 9.2 BCM ‘Upper Siang’ project on the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh will be able to take the excess load of water discharge and can even store water in case of any deficit.

Mehra added that 90 per cent of the Brahmaputra’s water comes through its tributaries in India during the monsoon season, thanks to the abundant rainfall in the northeast region. It is only in the winters that 80 per cent of the Siang river gets its water from the upper stretches as glaciers become the main source.

Another senior Jal Shakti ministry official said the project has been under discussion since the 1980s, pointing out hindrances in its execution.

Last week, Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, said Beijing will “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo” (the Tibetan name for Brahmaputra) and the project could serve to maintain water resources and domestic security.

“There is no parallel in history… It will be a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry,” Yan told a press conference organised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering.

Reacting to this, Brahma Chellaney, a strategic affairs expert and author of the book ‘Water- Asia’s New Battleground’, on November 30 tweeted India is facing China’s “terrestrial aggression in the Himalayas, maritime encroachments on its backyard and, as the latest news is a reminder, even water wars”.

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