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Chinese dams on Brahmaputra no threat

The Asian Age, New Delhi, 6th April, 2013

Minister of water resources Harish Rawat believes India should not panic about China’s decision to construct three dams on the Brahmaputra river.

 “There is no need to be panicky over this issue.

Whatever construction is taking place are small runof-the-river projects,” the minister claimed, especially in lieu of the Chinese  government having given an “assurance that they will take no such step” to adversely impact the downstream flow of the Brahmaputra.

“The Indian government has taken up the issue at the highest level. The Prime Minister (Dr Manmohan Singh) discussed this matter with the Chinese Prime Minister (in Durban) recently,” Mr Rawat said. The minister further explained that “most of the water in Brahmaputra as it flowed through India came from Arunachal Pradesh”.

Expressing concern over the growing pollution levels in Indian rivers, Mr Rawat disclosed that he had told the Yamuna padyatris, when they had collected in the capital, that cleaning up the Yamuna river was of primary importance to him.

“We plan to construct a parallel canal to the  Yamuna. It will collect all the sewage from different cities, starting from Delhi up to Agra, to ensure that no sewage is allowed into the Yamuna,” he said.

“This canal will flow along the western bank of Yamuna river and will collect the waste flowing from 17-18 nallas (drains),” he said without disclosing any details of where exactly the canal would be located. 

A meeting of the Yamuna Management Board was likely to be convened soon but already meetings were being held at the secondary levels to flesh out how the river could be cleaned.

“The Delhi state government has initiated 3-4 interceptor projects and our ministry is focusing on how to construct water treatment parts,” Mr Rawat said. The ministry had also green signalled the construction of several reservoirs along the Yamuna catchment area.