NEW DELHI: The East Siang District of Arunachal has been put on alert following a landslide and the formation of an artificial lake on the Yarlung Tsangpo in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region on Wednesday.
The Yarlung Tsangpo is called the Siang once it enters Arunachal Pradesh, and becomes the Brahmaputra once it enters Assam.
The water level of the Siang has gone down due to the formation of the lake, caused after a cliff fell into the Yarlung Tsangpo, and authorities warned of large-scale floods if the dam formed by the landslide breaks.
Warning people not to venture into the Siang and peripheral areas to collect driftwood, for fishing or swimming, district authorities also warned “people living in low-lying areas (both the right and left banks of Siang River) viz Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Jampani, Sigar, Ralling, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer, Gadum, etc to remain alert, but without panic, for any eventuality that may happen due to above reasons.”
“The Siang has almost dried up, which is very unnatural,” Arunachal East MP Ninong Ering said in a letter to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday.“And if the dam breaks, there could be large-scale damage in Arunachal Pradesh and other states downstream,” he wrote adding, “According to Chinese ministry of water resources, the landslide took place around 80 km downstream from the Nuxia hydrological station in Linzhi in Tibet. That’s around 100 km from the Indian border.”
Earlier this year, waters in the Siang and Brahmaputra had turned turbid following massive landslides caused by a series of earthquakes in Tibet.One of the agreements formalised after the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April was that China would provide India with hydrological data during the flood season from May 15 to October 15 every year, or if water levels exceed mutually agreed limits during the non-flood season. The summit took place in Wuhan.
In August, China warned India after water levels started to rise in the Tsangpo this August — its highest level in 150 years — giving the Indian authorities enough time to prepare and minimise flood damage and devastation.