Anti-dam bodies protest Chinese hydropower project on Brahmaputra

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Guwahati, Nov 29: Anti-dam organisations in Assam have raised their voices against the reported completion of a major hydropower project by China on Yarlung Zangbo, the Tibetan part of Brahmaputra.

Some activists have also threatened to lay siege to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that the first generating unit of the $1.5 billion Zangmu hydropower station became partly operational on Sunday. Five other stations are expected to be completed next year.

The Zangmu hydropower station, straddling the middle reaches of Yarlung Zangbo at 3,300 metres above sea level in Tibet, will have a total installed capacity of 510,000 kW after completion, the agency said.

The All Assam Students’ Organisation and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad –are against mega dams being pursued in Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere in the northeast – asked New Delhi to take the matter up in order to save the region from potential disaster. “The Indian government has often soft-pedalled the issue of dams being built by China. It cannot remain silent anymore,” the Parishad’s leader Manoj Baruah said.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti said the centre should immediately pursue the decommissioning of the Zangmu project besides making Brahmaputra a neutral zone from China to Bangladesh where nobody can construct a dam. “If the centre cannot act, we will gherao the Chinese embassy in New Delhi,” Akhil Gogoi, president of the Samiti, said.

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