Ministry seeks details of China's `move' to divert rivers

NEW DELHI NOV. 6. The Ministry of Water Resources has requested the Ministry of External Affairs "to seek details'' about recent news reports that China planned to divert waters of rivers originating in Tibet, including the Brahmaputra, which may affect India's programme of interlinking rivers.

The Brahmaputra is known as Yaluzangbu in China.

It was reported that China proposed to construct the world's largest hydroelectric plant at the Great Bend to generate 40,000 MW of power. It also planned to pump the diverted waters northwards across mountainous region to China's arid north-western provinces of Xiniiang and Gansu. Officials of the Water Resources Ministry said they were not aware of any such proposal by China and had urged the MEA to ascertain the "factual position''.

They said that in January 2002, India had signed a memorandum of understanding for supply of hydrological information on the Brahmaputra such as water levels, discharge and rainfall at three stations in Nugesha, Yangcun and Nuxia.

Under the agreement, it was agreed that China would supply the requisite information from June 1 to October 15 every year, which would help India in flood forecasting in the northeast region, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.