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Drying up of Siang River, 'lifeline of Northeast', could spell doom

Itanagar, Thu, 01 Mar 2012 ANI

Itanagar, Mar 1 (ANI): The mighty Siang River has dried up, shrinking about a kilometre from its bank in the century-old Arunachal Pradesh town of Pasighat in East Siang district, a phenomenon never experienced in the last half-decade.


The people cannot forget the June 9, 2000 catastrophe when the River Siang rose suddenly by 30 metres as they were asleep, inundating almost the entire town and causing widespread destruction of property, besides claiming seven lives.


Waters of the river rose after the collapse of a hydropower dam in Tibet. There were also fears that China might have diverted the waters of the Yarlong Tsangpo.


Siang is also known as Yarlong Tsangpo in Tibet, and there were fears that there could be some artificial blockade from the Chinese side that had caused the unprecedented drying up of the River Siang, regarded as the lifeline of India's north eastern region.


Arunachal Government spokesman Tako Dabii, who himself inspected the dried up bed of the river, also expressed the apprehension of locals, and suggested that the Indian Government, its agencies like the Central Water Commission, should immediately conduct an in-depth study in collaboration with the state government, to find the crux of the problem.


Dabii said the panic prevailing among the people was similar to the 'Kakua bhaya' phenomenon (an unknown fear during the Dwapara Yug), and therefore, could simply not be brushed aside. He pleaded with all those who matter at all levels to take immediate precautionary measures.


Quoting many septuagenarians, Dabii said they felt that if it was a blockade, it would be much more disastrous, and would set alarm bells ringing, particularly in New Delhi and Itanagar, besides all those associated with disaster management.


Taking a dig at China for its baseless rhetorical claim over Arunachal territory, Dabii said such claims make the great Asian giant a 'laughing stock' before the global community.


Communist leaders are sensible and would realise their folly soon to stop ridiculing them, he added.


Notwithstanding China's claims, its dam-construction binge fuelled by its growing energy needs, nothing could be ruled out.


Yarlung Tsangpo or Yarlung River, the highest river in the world, is a watercourse that originates at the Tamlung Tso Lake in western Tibet, southeast of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar.


It later forms the South Tibet Valley and Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, before entering India at Tuting, in Arunachal as Siang, takes the name of Brahmaputra in Assam and enters Bangladesh and is christened Padma after the Meghna joins its at Bhairav Bazar.


In the Upper Mekong Basin in Yunnan Province, China plans to construct eight cascade hydropower dams, the first of which, the Manwan Dam, was completed in 1996. (ANI)


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