Updated: August 6, 2021 8:19:07 am
India should constantly monitor “Chinese actions” so as to ensure that they do not pursue any major interventions on the Brahmaputra that would adversely affect the country’s “national interests”, according to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources. The committee, headed by BJP member Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, in a report also expressed apprehensions about Chinese projects in upstream areas.
The committee’s report, titled “Flood Management in the Country including International Water Treaties in the field of Water Resource Management with particular reference to Treaty/Agreement entered into with China, Pakistan and Bhutan”, was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The report also asked the government to renegotiate the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. “The Committee observe that although Indus Water Treaty has stood the test of time, they are of the view that the Treaty was framed on the basis of knowledge and technology existing at the time of its agreement in 1960s,” it said. “Present day pressing issues such as climate change, global warming and environmental impact assessment etc. were not taken into account by the Treaty.”
Regarding the Brahmaputra, the report said, “The Committee have been apprised by the Ministry of External Affairs that three hydropower projects on the main stream of Brahmaputra River in Tibet Autonomous Region have been approved by the Chinese authorities and a hydropower project at Zangmu was declared fully operational by Chinese authorities in October 2015.”
On India-China water relations, the committee said, “It has also been stated that the Government of India is carefully monitoring all the developments on the Brahmaputra River and has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities in order to ensure that the interests of downstream States like India are not harmed by any activities undertaken in upstream areas.”
Noting that there is no water treaty between India and China at present, the report said, “The Committee express apprehension that though ‘run of the river’ projects undertaken by China per se may not lead to diversion of waters, but there is every possibility that water can be stored in pondages and released for running the turbines, which may lead to certain diurnal variation in downstream flow and as a consequence have an impact on water flows in Brahmaputra river and thus affect India’s endeavours to tap the region’s water resources.”
“The Committee recommend that India should constantly monitor the Chinese actions so as to ensure that they do not pursue any major interventions on Brahmaputra river which would adversely affect our national interests,” it added.
The committee expressed satisfaction at the fact that China is sharing hydrological data with regard to the Brahmaputra and Sutlej, though on payment basis.
The committee also recommended setting up of a permanent institutional structure in the form of National Integrated Flood Management Group under the chairmanship of the Minister of Jal Shakti “immediately” for control and management of floods in the country.
“Concerned Ministers of the State Governments should be the members of this group and the group should meet at least once a year. This group should take up the overall responsibility of coordination as well as building synergies between all agencies responsible for management of floods and their consequences on life and property,” the report said.
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