Set up hydro labs on Brahmaputra: Cong

The muddy waters of Siang

Guwahati: The Assam PCC on Monday suggested setting up of two hydrological laboratories at the Brahmaputra’s entry points into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

PCC vice-president Pradyut Bordoloi said there is a need for a hydrological laboratory at Yingkiong, the headquarters of Upper Siang district in Arunachal and close to the entry point of the Siang, so that India can get continuous data on water flowing from China and Tibet. A similar laboratory should also be set up at Chapakhowa in Sadiya, where the river enters Assam.

“From the last five-six days, it has been noticed that highly turbid water is flowing into the Siang river. It is dangerous for us if chemical substances come with the muddy water. So, the government should examine the water sample and take instant steps if there is any harmful component,” Bordoloi said.

The Congress also demanded that a joint delegation of officials from the water resources and external affairs departments be sent to China to discuss the matter. “It is the need of the hour to take up the issue with China as soon as possible,” Bordoloi said.

Urging the Centre to become part of the Espoo Convention, Bordoloi said, “In 2014, Espoo Convention passed a protocol regarding the sharing of hydrological data with the international community. But India till today is not a member of the convention. As China has carried out various construction projects in the upper parts of the Brahmaputra, it is the duty of the Centre to become a member of the convention and also stress on China’s membership. It is the need of the hour.”

The Espoo Convention under United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) sets out the obligations of member nations to carry out an environmental impact assessment of certain activities at an early stage of planning.

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Sunday had also tweeted that a ground report on the Siang turning muddy has been sent to the Centre. The mud is making the water unfit for drinking and aquatic life.

“I also informed the people on the steps taken on the issue,” he tweeted. Khandu had inspected the Siang near Yingkiong on Sunday.

The Assam government said water sample from the Brahmaputra has been sent to North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management in Tezpur for testing.

Manash Pratim Dutta Telegraph India

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