New Delhi/ Beijing: March 2, 2012
China has denied that it was building a dam on Siang River (one of the main tributaries of the Brahmaputra) in Tibet which is said to be the cause behind the Brahmaputra river been found to have almost dried up in Arunachal Pradesh.
“Our projects have not affected the lower stream regions, including those in India,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters when asked of his nation’s water usage on the river.
“Overall, the utilisation of the river by the Chinese side is very low.”
Meanwhile the Indian Government has also slammed the media reports regarding drying up of Brahmaputra River. In a press release of Indian Ministry of Water Resources, the Indian Government stated that the apprehensions expressed by the state Government regarding possible diversion of the Brahmaputra by China is not correct and devoid of facts.
The Indian media had reported on 1st March, 2012 quoting the statement of Tako Dabi, the political adviser to Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh that People of Pasighat town in East Siang district found that water level of the river receded so much on Wednesday that it almost dried and expressed apprehension that China could have diverted the water of the river, which is known as Yarlong Tsangpo in Tibet, or there could be some artificial blockade due to which this has happened. During Telephonic conversation made by officials of Ministry of Water Resources with the State Government officials of Arunachal Pradesh, it came out that the statement may be based on the visual impression gathered from general public perception of the rivers flows around Pasighat town.
the press release said that the changes in river regime or flows are a natural phenomenon dependent on various hydro-meteorological and climatological factors. Central Water Commission (CWC) collects and analyzes the hydrological data relating to all major rivers in the country, consisting of rainfall, runoff and temperature, etc. and river Siang is one of them.
The release informed that on river Siang, CWC has been maintaining river water level and discharge data at pasighat in East Siang district and at Tuting in Upper Siang district, very near to the international border with Tibet Autonomous Region, China. CWC has examined the water level and river discharges starting from November, 2011 up till February, 2012 at these sites and observed that there has been neither any abnormal rise or fall in water flow of River Siang on these sites during this period nor any significant change in the quantum of water coming from Tibet Autonomous Region, China at the entry point in India.
The water level at Pasighat in the month of February, 2012 fluctuated between 151.62 m to 151.76 m and river discharges from 1175.02 to 1262.11 cumecs. The discharge observed at Pasighat on 29th February, 2012 was 1262.11 cumecs and 2651.52 cumecs on 1st March 2012. The increase in discharge at Pasighat on 01st March 2012 is explained due to heavy rainfall in the intervening catchment on 29th Feb & 1st March 2012.
The incoming water level in River Siang at Tuting, very near to International Border in the month of February 2012 varied between 403.44 m to 403.78 m and river flows between 932.9 cumecs to 1035.88 cumecs and there are no abnormal changes in the rivers flows at the point of entry of river Siang in India.
The statement assures that the Government of India keeps a constant watch on all developments in China having bearing on India’s interest and takes necessary measures to protect them.
Siang River in Arunachal Pradesh is a part of the great Brahmaputra. Siang River enters India in the Upper Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh. The River is known to have its origin in China and offers one of the premium wilderness expeditions in the world.
Siang River valleys and tributaries are the home of the Adi people of Arunachal Pradesh. The Siang River offers ample opportunities for adventure sports like river rafting, angling, and trekking. A hanging bridge on the Siang River is an interesting sight to be seen. The bridge made of cane and bamboo is around 60 to 70m long, connecting the hill tribal settlements. The river Siang is known as Brahmaputra in Assam. The Brahmaputra is the confluence of Siang and Lohit rivers of Arunachal Pradesh.
(with Agency inputs)