By Naresh Mitra, Times of India, 2 November
GUWAHATI: Tibetan prime minister in-exile Lobsang Sangay on Monday has warned dam construction in Tibet by China is set to have serious ecological and livelihood implications due to alteration of water flow through Brahmaputra in Northeast.
The Brahmaputra originates from the glacier on Mount Kailash in Tibet where the river it is called Yarlung Tsangpo.
Sangay remarks on dam construction in Tibet came at a time when China recently operationalized 510 MW hydropower project on Brahmaputra.
The 510 MW Zangmu hydroelectric project was operationalized at a time anti-dam groups in Northeast are worried over the China’s dam construction on the higher reaches of Brahmaputra in Tibet. Also earlier this year, centre had said that apart from Zangmu the Chinese government is planning three more hydropower projects on Brahmaputra in Tibetan Autonomous Region. New Delhi has maintained that as the four projects including Zangmu were run-of-the-river (RoR) projects any significant change on flow of water in the Northeast is not expected.
Speaking at the fifth All India Tibet Support Groups Conference here on Monday, Sangay said that Tibetans in India have for long been raising the threats from China’s dam constructions on Brahmaputra.
“Now China has admitted about the construction. Also there are talks of China’s plan to divert water from rivers in Tibet. Given China’s significant chunk of its population facing shortage of freshwater, the diversion of water from rivers in Tibet is set to become a reality in coming days,” Sangay said.
On the sidelines of the event, Sangay appealed New Delhi to be more vigilant and make its concerns over China’s dam buildings on Brahmaputra more pronounced.
“Tibet is the source of 10 major rivers in Asia including Brahmputra. Assam and even Bangladesh is green because of Brahmaputra. Already Tibet’s glaciers where most of these rivers originates are fast depleting. On top of that there is deforestation and exploitation of water resources through dam construction and other activities. Downstream countries is going to bear the brunt of Tibet’s ecology destruction,” Sangay, who is seeking re-election in the Tibetan parliament in exiles, warned.