New Delhi: With concerns being raised about China allegedly building dams on the upper reaches of Yarlung Tsangpo, the Tibetan name for Brahmaputra, and diverting the river water, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union minister of state for water resources clarified that the Indian government has urged the highest level of Chinese authorities to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activity in the upstream areas of the Brahmaputra River.
Meghwal revealed this while responding to an unstarred question posed by Ninong Ering, a Congress leader from Arunachal Pradesh in the Lok Sabha. Ering asked whether China was diverting the Brahmaputra River towards Xinjiang province by constructing a 1,000 km long tunnel “If so, what are the steps taken by the government of India in this regard and to solve the issue of frequent floods being caused by this river.”
Meghwal pointed out, “As a lower riparian state with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border Rivers, the government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, including at the highest levels.”
He added, “The Chinese foreign affairs ministry in a public statement has rejected all reports regarding the alleged diversion of water. They have also maintained that they are only undertaking run-of the-river hydro-power projects, which does not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra.”
“We intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border Rivers to safeguard our interests. Various issues relating to trans-border Rivers, including construction of hydro-power dams, are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalized expert level mechanism which was established in 2006,” the minister said.
Talking about flood control measures, Meghwal informed the house that flood management and anti-erosion schemes are planned, investigated and implemented by the state governments with their own resources and the union government renders technical guidance and promotional financial assistance to the states.
“The Centre launched the Flood Management Programme since the 11th Plan for providing central assistance to the state governments for taking up works related to river management, flood control, anti-erosion, drainage development, flood proofing works and restoration of flood damages,” he said.