North East Today, 11 March 2016

The government has urged China to ensure that interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activity in upstream areas of the Brahmaputra river, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.

Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat made the statement in reply to queries on whether China’s dam construction in upper Tibet area is causing a drop in water level in Brahmaputra in Assam and said the government “carefully” monitors all developments on the river.

“India has urged China to ensure the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas,” Jat said.
The minister said, according to reports, China’s Zangmu hydroelectric project was operationalised in October, 2015. The outline of the 12th Five Year Plan for the People’s Republic of China indicates that three more hydropower projects on the mainstream of Brahmaputra river in Tibet Autonomous Region have been approved for implementation, he said.

“These four projects are considered to be run of the river (RoR) hydroelectric projects. As a lower riparian state with considerable established user rights to the waters of the river, India has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, including at the highest levels of the Government of the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

The minister said in 2006 the two sides established an India-China Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) on trans-border rivers and in October, 2013, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers, he said.

Subsequently, Jat said, a joint statement was issued during the visit of Prime Minister of India to China in May, 2015 which stated, “The two sides will further strengthen cooperation through the expert-level mechanisms, on the provision of flood season hydrological data and emergency management, and exchange views on other issues of mutual interest.