Gogoi taps Singh on China dams

Guwahati, Feb. 1: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter of China's construction of three dams on the upstream of the Brahmaputra with Beijing.

In a letter to Singh today, Gogoi pointed out that though the Chinese government had given assurance that it would take care of the interest of people in the downstream areas, the state government has apprehensions that it might affect Assam.

Gogoi, while mentioning that the "entire economy of Assam and the Northeast is dependent on the Brahmaputra", said the construction of three dams might affect the interests of the region.

On the other hand, Jana Jagriti, an Assam-based NGO, today claimed that China has been working on 39 hydropower projects on the Brahmaputra over the past six years and that Beijing's recent claim that "it intends to start work on three" projects was a mere eyewash.

The organisation, which is spearheading a movement against the proposed hydro projects on the Brahmaputra in China, said at least 33 projects coming up in Yarlung Tsangpo, as the river is called there, would generate 93,214.86MW of power.

"China has been working on these projects over the past six years and its claim of three projects at Degu, Jiexu and Jiacha, is nothing but eyewash," Ashokananda Singhal, president of the NGO, told reporters here.

"India receives 78.10 billion cubic metres water from China through the river's Indian entry point in Gorging. However, once the projects come up, India will receive 64 per cent less water during the monsoon," Singhal said.

"We appeal to chief ministers of all Northeast states to take up the issue with the Centre," he said.