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Arunachal, Assam concerned about Chinese dams

Source: PTI
February 09, 2013 17:39 IST
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Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have drawn the attention of the Centre for steps to neutralise the impact of three dams proposed to be built by China on river Tsangpho, known as Siang in Arunachal and Brahmaputra in Assam.

"We have no objection to China building dams, but the life of the people which sustain on the flow of Brahmaputra since ages should not be affected by the dams," Arunachal Pradesh Water Resources Development minister Newlai Tingkhatra, flanked by his Assam counterpart Rajib Lochan Pegu, told media persons in Itanagar on Saturday.

If the downstream flow of the river is not affected we have nothing to object, they said after the high-level meeting to discuss chronic flood problems and measures to tackle it.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has drawn the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in writing, Pegu said.

Tingkhtara said he would urge Arunachal Chief Minister Nabam Tuki to follow suit.

On a specific question whether India would lose its first user rights if China built three dams first, both the leaders said the river is the lifeline of both the states.

Pegu said he was not opposed to any dam if the downstream impact was assessed scientifically and precautionary measures taken.

Responding to queries, Tingkhatra said states have been formed for administrative reasons but nature has no boundary and Assam sufferers heavily because of landslides, erosion and siltation in rivers in Arunachal.

He said civil society felt that representatives of NE states should be sent by the Centre to study the proposed dams in China and their impact as information from China could not be completely relied on until and unless a spot study was made.

After the initiative of Pradhan at a meeting here in December last year, this was the first high level official joint meeting.

It concluded with the formation of a joint technical committee with WRD secretary of both states to chair it in rotation for two years while the chief engineer of both the states would be the member-secretary.

A joint meeting would be held soon where the joint technical committee would apprise the joint administrative committee about schemes would be taken to tackle the downstream impact of Arunachal rivers in Assam.

The administrative committee would include ministers of both states as members.

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