As the state prepares for the first phase of Assembly elections, people of Assam have expressed apprehension over reports of the Chinese government constructing a dam on the river Brahmaputra, which is considered a lifeline for the state.
While elections in Assam always bring to fore issues of flooding and erosion, many in the Dibrugarh district are worried about China’s plans to dam the river that flows through the region.
China is reportedly planning to construct a dam on the Brahmaputra. A number of projects related to water conservation listed under China’s new five-year plan are going to be built very close to the border.
Locals say that they have seen several reports in the media about China’s plan to construct a dam and expect it to cause unprecedented social and economic damage.
While speaking to ANI, local resident Parag Dutta said, “We have seen several reports suggesting that China is going to dam the Brahmaputra river. This will affect Arunachal Pradesh and Assam adversely. The farming, fishing and tourism sectors will be irreparably damaged.”
“The Centre must talk to the Chinese government and reach a conclusion,” he further demanded.
Over 56 per cent of the Brahmaputra, also known as the Yarlung Tsangpo, which is a trans-Himalayan river, flows in Chinese territory. As the river crosses the Himalayan Crestline, it receives an annual rainfall of about 2,000 to 2,100 mm, resulting in swelling of the river line while entering India.
Data suggests that the annual outflow of the Yarlung Tsangpo from China is less than that from India’s Brahmaputra. If China constructs dams, an aspect of concern is that the water supply will be affected in the north-east region of the country.
Another resident, Avik Chakvarty, said that “India should also think of making dams in our part to store water because if it is not done, it will damage the socio-economic culture of not just Assam, but of the entire North-east region.”
Assembly elections in Assam for 126 seats will be held in three phases starting from March 27 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
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