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'Chinese dam on Brahmaputra is 1,000 km away'

November 05, 2009 16:26 IST

India on Thursday downplayed the issue of building of a dam by China on Brahmaputra River saying the construction site is 1,100 km away from the country's boundary.

"The point where they were making a dam is 1,100 km away from our boundary. It's a small dam and no reservoir as such. They already have such 15 dams there which they are using for local purposes," water resources minister P K Bansal said.

"For their run of the river, we have no right. Our concern should be that there is no diversion in existing flow of the 79 billion cubic metres water from the river into India. There is no evidence for any such diversion so far," Bansal said.

"There is no cause of concern right now, but we always have to be watchful," was the refrain of the minister, when asked whether there was nothing to worry about the issue. His response came when asked about media reports that China has constructed a dam on the river as part of the Nagmu hydroelectric project, which was inaugurated on March 16. He was speaking at a Rajya Sabha workshop on 'Parliament and Media'.

The minister also informed that the government has decided to launch new projects in Arunachal Pradesh for the use of the 79 BCM water coming from the region, to strengthen India's claims on the right to use that water.

Sources said by doing this the government wanted to pre-empt any future move by China to obstruct supply of this water by suddenly raising height of the dam or by any other step.

Added by water from Indian rivers, the total amount of water flowing from Brahmaputra swells to 629 BCM.

The country is currently not using that much water and hence the new projects will serve to the strengthen India's right to use the precious natural resource, sources said.

Asked whether there was any agreement between the two countries for water sharing, Bansal said, "There is no MoU between the countries but every three month data is shared. The latest data has not come so far but is expected soon."
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