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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Satellite pictures show China damming Yarlung Tsangpo

November 9, 2009

Tibetan Review
November 6, 2009

India remote sensing satellite has caught China
possibly lying about not having any plans to dam
and divert the Yarlung Tsangpo, the name in Tibet
of the river which flows into India as
Brahmaputra River. India’s National Remote
Sensing Agency (NRSA) confirmed on Nov 3 that
construction was on at the Zangmu site, prompting
the government to take up the matter with China
at a "political" level through the Ministry of
External Affairs, reported the Indian Express online Nov 4.

In its presentation to the Committee of
Secretaries (CoS) formed to assess Chinese plans
regarding possible diversion of the Brahmaputra’s
water, the NRSA presented evidence of "houses,
construction/excavation, and movement of trucks"
in and around a 3-4 km range at the site, the report said.

It said that the meeting of the CoS -- also
attended by India’s external intelligence
gathering agency RAW’s chief K C Verma,
representatives of Environment, Water, Power, and
External Affairs Ministries -- decided to
"constantly monitor" various aspects of the
construction through different sub-groups set up by the CoS.

The report cited sources as saying that while it
was possible that the noticed construction was
for a water storage project, the real intention
of the project was not very clear.

The report noted that the Zangmu hydroelectrical
project was inaugurated on Mar 16 this year and
the first concrete poured in on Apr 2. The
1.138-billion Yuan (1 Yuan = $0.15) project had
been awarded to a five-company consortium with
China Gezhouba Group along with NIDR (China Water
Northeastern investigation, design and research)
being involved in its construction. The project
is reportedly being financed by the Huaneng
Corporation, one of China’s biggest power companies.

The findings of NRSA has given credence to New
Delhi’s concerns that lower riparian countries
like India and Bangladesh would be at China’s
mercy during the dry spell and for protection
from floods during the rainy season, noted (India) Nov 4. It said the dam was
being built at Namcha Barwa, which is located in Nyingtri Prefecture.

The Brahmaputra River basin accounts for nearly
30% of India’s total water resources and about
40% of its total hydropower potential, the report said.

China's Minister for Water Resources, Wang
Shucheng, had earlier said the Yarlung Tsangpo
dam proposal was "unnecessary, unfeasible and
unscientific," and had no government backing.
However, some Chinese engineers are now reported
to suggest that the dam could provide cheap
electricity for India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and
that it could facilitate flood control in the Brahmaputra-Ganges basin.

It is also believed that the diverted water from
the river would irrigate the northwestern part of
China's Gobi desert in Xinjiang and Gansu, up to
400 miles away, and refill the dying Yellow
River, which now runs dry for much of the year.
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