China prepares to build dam on Brahmaputra river in Tibet; India raises concern

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Nov 30, 2020, 02:26 PM(IST)

A file photo of a dam. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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It is being constructed with the aim of maintaining water resources and domestic security, the Chinese government's mouthpiece Global Times reported

China is reportedly planning to construct a major hydropower project on Brahmaputra river in Tibet, official media sources have reported on Monday.

The proposal for this project was presented in the 14th Five-Year Plan, and the construction will begin from next year. Talking about the project, Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, said China will "implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River" (the Tibetan name for the Brahmaputra).

It is being constructed with the aim of maintaining water resources and domestic security, the Chinese government's mouthpiece Global Times reported.

Claiming it as a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry, Yan informed that the project was mentioned clearly in the 14th Five-Year Plan of the years 2021-2025, and its long-term goals through 2035 made by the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). "There is no parallel in history... it will be a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry," he claimed.

The details of this plan will, assumably, be released after the formal approval by the National People's Congress (NPC) — which may happen next year.

This project has raised concerns for the South Asian countries India and Bangladesh. The Indian government has urged China to keep the interests of the downstream areas and make sure that the trans-border rivers' usage rights are not harmed by the upstream areas. China, downplaying the importance of these concerns, has said it will keep in mind the anxieties and concerns raised by the South Asian countries.

Yan has claimed the project is important for environment, national security, living standards, energy and international cooperation.

According to reports, the mainstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River has the richest water resources in Tibet Autonomous Region, about 80 million kilowatt hours (kWh), while the 50-kilometer section of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon has 70 million kWh that could be developed with a 2,000-meter drop, which equals more than three Three Gorges power stations in Hubei province.

India will be keeping a close eye on this development and will raise concerns under the Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) which was established between the two countries in 2006.

(With inputs from agencies)

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