China building 26 dams on Brahmaputra: NGO

Guwahati, Feb 1 (IANS) A day after India admitted that China was building three more hydropower dams on the Brahmaputra river, an NGO alleged that the neighbouring country is building 26 hydropower dams on the upper reaches of the river in Tibet.

Three years ago, the NGO Jana Jagriti had made public photographs claiming that China was building mega hydropower dams on the upper Brahmaputra in Tibet to divert the waters under a project called "South to North Water diversion Projects".

"Jana Jagriti brought this fact to light three years ago through the media that the water of the Brahmaputra is not only being used for dams and hydro power projects but its waters are also being diverted by China. China has accepted this," said Ashokananda Singhal, president of Jana Jagriti.

"In India, the Yarlung Trangpo river is called the Brahmaputra. We receive 78.10 BCM water from China through the Brahmaputra at its entry point at village Gorging in India. In the monsoons from June to September, 56.12 BCM water comes to India, whereas in non-monsoon period, 21.98 BCM water is received. This is an average figure for the last 20 years," he said.

"Once China completes these projects, we will receive 64 percent less water during the monsoon. In the non-monsoon season, 85 percent less water will come from China to India," he added.

"Jana Jagriti has released photos that have proved that work had started long ago on three projects," Singhal said, adding that China has been working on 26 more projects.

"The Brahmaputra is under threat from China. The river, which is the lifeline of Assam, needs proper care, concern and attention," he said.

"We demand that chief ministers of all northeastern states take up the issue with the central government and not allow China to change the water flow of the Brahmaputra river. The river not only gives life but it is our cultural heritage and connected with our religious sentiments," he said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the construction of three dams on the Brahmaputra with China.

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