Monday, October 19, 2009

Arunachal opposes Chinese move to construct dam on Brahmaputra

ITANAGAR, Oct 19: Arunachal Pradesh has categorically placed its objections to the reported dam proposed by the Chinese on the Tsangpo river, known as Brahmaputra in India, before the Prime Minister and called upon the Union Government to take up the matter seriously with Beijing.

The delegation from Arunachal Pradesh, led by Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at New Delhi this evening. Though the delegation said it did not mind a Run-of-the-River project on the Brahmaputra, it expressed serious concerns on the reported dam construction that would divert the entire river to drier regions of China.

Talking to The Sentinel from New Delhi, Lok Sabha MP Takam Sanjoy, who was part of the delegation, said, "We have categorically objected to China’s plans to divert the Brahmaputra. If the Brahmaputra is diverted, the ramifications on the cultural and economical life of the people in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam would be disastrous."

He said that life in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Bangladesh revolves around the Brahmaputra river and its diversion would have catastrophic effects on the human civilizations thriving in its basin.

Complementing the Indian government for asserting its rights on Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, the delegation refused to accept Chinese claims over the State on behalf of its people.

"We have our own definite cultural and ethnic boundaries that have been well-maintained since centuries and which cannot be taken for granted by any other country," Sanjoy said. He asserted that Chinese claims of the neighbouring country having cultural affinity with Arunachal Pradesh holds no water.

The delegation negated any assertion of cultural dispute in Arunachal Pradesh and urged the Central Government to be more assertive with the Chinese government.

In order to weaken the Chinese claims, the delegation suggested the Central Government to give top priority to its borders with China, particularly in the eastern front, where Arunachal Pradesh shares more than 890 kms of the international border with China. It stressed the need for road infrastructure in the border areas to facilitate defence preparedness and connectivity of rural areas with the mainland.

Beijing’s objection to the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Tawang was also raised by the delegation from Arunachal Pradesh.

"The Dalai Lama’s visit is a routine one. This would be the third visit of the spiritual leader to the State and it has nothing to do with political differences," said Sanjoy. He further informed the Prime Minister that the State has already made elaborate arrangements to receive the spiritual leader who has a large number of followers in the State.

Besides Khandu and Sanjoy, the delegation from Arunachal Pradesh comprised of Home Minister Jarbom Gamlin, PWD Minister Nabam Tuki, former MP Kiren Rijiju and legislators T Dhondup and Jambey Tashi. THE SENTINEL

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