Land quiver soiled river, says Dispur

Assam water resources minister Keshab Mahanta

Guwahati: The Brahmaputra’s water had turned turbid primarily because of a recent earthquake in Tibet, Assam water resources minister Keshab Mahanta said on Tuesday.

The Siang in Arunachal Pradesh, which originates in southern Tibet and becomes the Brahmaputra upon entering Assam, turned black after the quake, sparking concern.

Mahanta said the Brahmaputra’s water was not suitable for consumption at the moment because of the presence of various soil ingredients.

“We investigated samples of the Brahmaputra’s water recently after getting reports that it had become highly turbid. The samples were mainly collected from the area in Dhemaji district where the river enters into our state. The sample report has revealed a high rate of soil ingredients,” the minister told The Telegraph.

The state government sent the samples to the North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management, at Dolabari in Sonitpur district, after people from various parts of the state and also from Arunachal Pradesh alleged that the river’s water had become so muddy that livestock had died in some places.

“The report says there is no dangerous chemical substance in the water. The only cause of the turbidity is excess soil. But specialists have suggested that people should not consume the Brahmaputra’s water till it becomes normal as it can cause disease,” Mahanta said.

The minister said livestock could have died in the sar areas after consuming water of the river but there was no official report in this regard.

“As no chemical substance has been detected, the assumption that the river’s water turned muddy because China carried out construction in the upper part of the river is redundant. Our specialists, after examining recent circumstances, assumed that the main cause for the turbidity was earthquake as landslide caused large chunks of earth to dissolve in the river’s water in Tibet and China,” he added.

The construction theory had gained momentum with some people claiming the presence of cement particles in the water.

After the report came on Monday, Dispur discussed it the same day in a meeting attended by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The meeting decided to send the report to Delhi and request the Centre to take up the matter with China as soon as possible. Mahanta said the report was sent to Delhi on Tuesday. “We hope the Centre will discuss the matter with China,” he added.

Manash Pratim Dutta Telegraph India

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