Calls for signing of a water-sharing information treaty with Beijing

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday urged the Centre to keep a strong vigil on a possible downstream impact of a dam of a 510 MW project constructed by China at Zangmu in the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra or the Yarlung Tsangpo, as it is known in Tibet.

Talking to journalists here, he said though China had assured the Government of India that there would be no negative downstream impact of the dam, Assam had taken the project seriously.

Mr. Gogoi stressed need for India and China signing a water-sharing information treaty to avoid misunderstandings. While the Centre was expected to conduct a study on the downstream impact of the dam on the Brahmaputra, the Assam government would also conduct its own study.

The Chief Minister said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken up the matter with Beijing. Mr. Gogoi planned to take it up again with Dr. Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao during his visit to Delhi.

Reiterating his government's stand on the 2,000 MW Subonsiri Lower Hydroelectric project of the NHPC at Gerukamukh in Arunachal Pradesh, Mr. Gogoi said: “If it benefits Assam, why should we oppose it?”

Reacting to BJP leader Rajnath Singh's demand for constructing a multipurpose project at Gerukamukh instead of a mega hydroelectric project, Mr. Gogoi accused the BJP of adopting double standards on the issue.

The Chief Minister alleged that it was only during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government regime that the project, which was originally a multipurpose one, was taken away from the Brahmaputra Board and handed over to the Union Power Ministry for implementation as a single purpose hydropower project by the NHPC.