Siang river turns black in Arunachal Pradesh; Congress MP hints China building 1000-km tunnel to divert waters

Congress MP from Arunachal East constituency Ninong Ering has said that Siang has turned muddy and slushy with traces of cement at a time of the year when its waters are supposed to be crystal clear.

Published: 28th November 2017 08:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2017 05:52 PM   |  A+A-

The Siang river has turned muddy due to China’s alleged tunnel

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: An Arunachal Pradesh MP has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinting that China could be constructing a tunnel under river Siang, known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet.

Congress MP from Arunachal East constituency Ninong Ering has said that Siang has turned muddy and slushy with traces of cement at a time of the year when its waters are supposed to be crystal clear.

“A serious matter has arisen, which I am conveying to you in the interest of the state and the country. A few months back, a report, which was denied by Chinese government in regard to diverting a channel over Tsangpo in Tibet, has become an issue of concern. After the report, the Siang River has become muddy and slushy... It is an unusual phenomenon and the reason behind the river becoming dirty is unknown,” Ering said in his November 25 letter.

“(The construction of) A long tunnel has already started in the Yunnan Province as a rehearsal. There is no other reason for the mighty river to be dirty in November. It has been so due to heavy land excavation on the Chinese side. It has to be verified by an international team to ascertain the international treaty.”

Last month, the South China Morning Post had reported that China was building a 1,000-km long tunnel to take the Tsangpo water to Xinjiang Province to green the Taklamakan desert. A day later, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying called it a “false report” and said Beijing would take into account interests of downstream countries.Siang is one of the three major tributaries of the Brahmaputra, the others being Lohit and Dibang. While Lohit and Dibang originate in India, Siang begins in Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh before merging into the Brahmaputra along the Assam-Arunachal border.

On Monday, Ering told The New Indian Express that China could be constructing over 10 tunnels. “My guess is that more than 10 tunnels are being built there and 2,000 trucks must be dumping soil into the river or they may be using big grazing boats and throwing the soil into the river,” he said. 

“In the Yunnan Province, they are on a testing method; they are digging this hole. That’s the reason why the water is so murky. If water is diverted through this 1,000-km long tunnel, Siang will be completely dry.” 

He said once the monsoon is over, Siang’s waters become clear. “I am 63-years-old and since my childhood, I have never seen the river dirty in this season. From October-end, the water is crystal clear. Now, the whole river is full of cement and clay,” he said.

He said a three-party team, one each from China and India besides an international observer, should visit the places in China. 

Led by the All Bogong Students’ Union, locals in the district on Monday protested the alleged Chinese activities. In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the students’ body wrote that China was constructing something huge on its side.

“Siang river is the lifeline of our entire Siang and Brahmaputra Valley where biodiversity of the entire region will get affected if diversion is done,” they wrote in the memo.

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