By Pankaj Sharma, The Telegraph, 3 November 2015
Guwahati, Nov. 2: The prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, today said construction of dams by China on rivers originating in Tibet, including the Brahmaputra, would have serious implications on livelihood and ecology in India’s Northeast and other Asian nations.
Speaking at the fifth All-India Tibet Support Groups Conference here today, Sangay said the Tibetan glaciers are sources of all major rivers that provide fresh water to India, Bangladesh and other Asian nations and building dams on these rivers will directly impact those countries.
Describing the Brahmaputra as the “lifeline of Assam”, he said construction of dams by China on the river would have adverse impact on the Northeast, particularly Assam, as well as Bangladesh.
The two-day conference, which began at the District Library auditorium here today, is organised by the Core Group of Tibetan Cause, India. The purpose is to highlight the ever-growing repressive implementation of Chinese policies and worsening human rights situation in Tibet.
The conference, held once every three year, is attended by around 182 Tibet support groups from across India.
Sangay said continuous environmental degradation of Tibet by China had led to fast melting of glaciers which would create shortage of fresh water.
According to him, diversion of water from rivers in Tibet by China is a reality since a significant part of Chinese population is facing shortage of water.
Sangay said preservation of Tibetan ecology is vital for the livelihood and ecology of the neighbouring countries.
He expressed gratitude to India for supporting the Tibetan cause and allowing the Tibetans to stay in the country.
A fact sheet on Tibet issued by the Core Group of Tibetan Cause says that under Chinese rule there has been unprecedented and systematic destruction of environment in Tibet and the rich wildlife, forests, minerals and water resources have suffered irreparable losses and Tibet’s fragile ecological balance is severely disturbed.
“Research indicated that the Chinese authorities denuded timber worth $54 billion towards the end of 1985 from the forest reserves of Tibet. In Amdo province alone, nearly 50 million trees have been felled since 1955 and 70 per cent of forests were cleared,” it added.
On the concluding day of the conference tomorrow, there will be a briefing on the present situation in Tibet by Sonam Norbu Dagpo, the secretary of department of information and international relations of the central Tibetan administration.