Mebo: Recognising the persistent issue of land erosion caused by the River Siang during the monsoon season in the Mebo area of the East Siang district, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has emphasised the necessity of constructing a ‘barrage’ on the river as the most viable solution to control its course and flow.
Khandu addressed flooding concerns during the opening day of the Banggo Solung celebrations in Mebo, emphasising losses caused by River Siang’s waters on the left bank in the Mebo plains. He also mentioned previous challenges like the Mebo-Dhola road breach, leading to the construction of an alternative route, which was later eroded.
“Approximately Rs 35 crore was expended through the Department of Water Resources to construct flood protection structures, but even these defences succumbed to erosion. Additionally, the renowned Daying Ering Wildlife Sanctuary on the right bank has been diminishing due to soil erosion,” the chief minister highlighted while stressing the urgency of finding a long-term solution to address this issue.
Recognising the formidable task of safeguarding a 23-kilometre riverbank, Khandu affirmed the commitment of both state and central governments to improving the lives of the residents of the 10-plus villages severely affected by the River Siang’s annual monsoon fury.
He disclosed that the Central government has requested the state government to submit a comprehensive plan encompassing protection measures for both the left and right banks as a single unified project.
“The state government, in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources, is actively working on this proposal,” he said.
Khandu also expressed deep concerns regarding reports of China’s proposal to construct a massive dam with a capacity exceeding 60,000 megawatts on the River Siang in Tibet, just before it enters Arunachal Pradesh. He assured that both the Central and state governments are closely monitoring this development.
While the Central government addresses this issue at the national level, the state government’s primary concern remains preserving the River Siang and maintaining control over its flow.
Khandu stressed the need for a barrage on the River Siang in Arunachal Pradesh to address historical uncertainty and prevent water-related risks. According to him, such a barrage would not only safeguard water from the tributaries within the state to maintain the river’s natural flow but also protect the region from flash floods.
The chief minister emphasised that hydropower generation is important but not the primary goal. He shared that the decision on the barrage project is in the hands of the Adi society, and urged them to think about long-term consequences and avoid regrets as China builds a massive dam.
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In conclusion, Khandu praised the Adis for their cultural heritage and urged its preservation. He asked elders to promote traditional practices and native languages among the youth to maintain their identity and prevent assimilation into the larger population that has lost its indigenous roots.
The Banggo Solung celebrations witnessed the presence of Lok Sabha MP Tapir Gao, local legislator Lombo Tayeng, MLAs Kaling Moyong and Ninong Ering, Advisor to CM Dr. Tangor Tapak, former ministers Roding Pertin and Bosiram Siram, former MLAs Ralom Borang and Tatung Jamoh, alongside other dignitaries.
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