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Old May 10, 2007, 12:44 AM
GoldenAsif GoldenAsif is offline
Join Date: April 8, 2007
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Default China plans to divert Brahmaputra waters

China plans to construct a dam at Yarlung Tsangpo point on the Brahmaputra River in Tibet province to divert 200 billion cubic metres of water annually to the Yellow River threatening a major ecological disaster in Bangladesh within the next few years.

Experts and environmentalists fear Bangladesh would turn into a desert in the near future as water flow of Brahmaputra-Jamuna river, which is about 60 per cent of the total water flow, will fall drastically if China builds the dam on the Brahmaputra.

According to morphologist Maminul Haque Sarker of Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), one-third water flow of Brahmaputra-Jamuna would decline if the project is implemented.

“Around 15 to 20 small and medium rivers including Dhaleshwari, Shitalakkha and Balu will die,” he cautioned.

“Salinity normally increases if water flow in the rivers declines. Less flow of water will result in alarming increase of salinity in river water, badly affecting the world heritage site Sundarbans as well as Bhola, Barisal, Khulna and Chandpur, and even different places of Sylhet and Rajshahi divisions,” Sarker said adding saline water will also affect the fisheries and trees of the areas.

Although Chinese government claimed that the project is still at a conceptual stage, confidential sources confirmed that work of the project has already begun with the target to finish it in next five to seven years.

Mohammad Inamul Haque, former director general of Bangladesh Haor & Wetlands Development Board (BHWDB), said Yarlung-Tsangpo project is part of China’s long-term river interlinking project to divert water from south to north.

China wants to build the dam as water flow of Yellow River declined due to huge water demand of the people of both sides of the river, said renowned engineer Taqsem A Khan.

“Although China denies launching of the project work, we believe they will go ahead with its plan to divert water from south to north for irrigation in the vast stretches of land,” he said.

However, Bangladesh is yet to take any diplomatic initiative regarding the project. Even water ministry officials have no idea about the Chinese dam project.

India has already expressed concern, fearing similar effects in Assam and Arunachal provinces.

Experts suggested that Bangladesh create pressure on China as per a United Nations convention on Law of Non-Navigation Uses of International Watercourses, which disallows countries from barring natural flow of water of any international river.

As Brahmaputra is an international river, China cannot build dams blocking water flow without prior permissions of Bangladesh and India, they said.

“We should raise voices against the project at home and abroad immediately,” said the BHWDB director general.

Barrister Raihan Khalid, representative of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said although Bangladesh is yet to ratify the UN convention it can exert pressure on China.

A group of retired Chinese officials first wrote about the idea to divert Brahmaputra water in a book titled ‘Tibet’s Water will Save China’ last year.

Bangladesh is already facing water crisis in the major rivers due to India’s Farakka barrage on the Padma. Some 17 rivers have already died and seven more are awaiting the same fate due to the barrage.

India is also planning to construct Tipaimukh dam on the upstream of Meghna River and initiate a river interlinking project that threatens to worsen the water crisis in Bangladesh.

Definitely not good news and something needs to be done immediately.
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Old May 10, 2007, 02:04 PM
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shaad shaad is offline
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Experts suggested that Bangladesh create pressure on China as per a United Nations convention on Law of Non-Navigation Uses of International Watercourses, which disallows countries from barring natural flow of water of any international river
That hasn't stopped India in the past; so I doubt that a similar approach would be effective against China (which is not to say that we should not pursue it aggressively at the UN). However, since we don't really have any economic leverage over China or India, we should mount an aggressive international public relations campaign, making the issue of depriving Bangladesh of riverine water one that garners negative PR for China and India.

Frankly, while we did temporarily hire lobbyists in Washington DC, our government and diplomats haven't really done that much to boost our image and interests abroad.
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