Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has sounded a warning about potential environmental disasters, including floods, for his state and neighboring Assam if India does not respond to China’s plans to construct a massive dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet’s Medog district.
The Yarlung Tsangpo, which flows through Tibet before entering Arunachal Pradesh as the Siang River, ultimately becomes the Brahmaputra in Assam and the Jamuna in Bangladesh, eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
The Chinese dam project, described by experts as a “ticking water bomb for residents downstream,” has raised significant concerns. In response, the Indian government is planning to build a large barrage—a low-lying structure with gates to control water flow—across the Siang River to mitigate potential risks.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu emphasized the urgency of addressing this issue during a discussion in the state Assembly. He stated, “The Indian government has raised objections over repercussions to Siang as a result of China’s project. If this (the Chinese dam) happens, what will be the condition of the Siang? The river may shrink because water is diverted… we may be able to cross it on foot. There is also a threat of floods if excess water is released… there will be massive floods in Siang belt, Assam, and even Bangladesh.”
To safeguard against these potential consequences, the center plans to construct the barrage to maintain the Siang’s flow and prevent flooding. Chief Minister Khandu expressed his support for this initiative and acknowledged that the center has expressed concerns about the situation.
He also addressed challenges related to survey work in the Siang Valley, where some members of the public have blocked initial geographical surveys. Chief Minister Khandu announced his intention to visit the area personally to request villagers’ cooperation in allowing survey and investigation work for the proposed barrage.
Highlighting the gravity of the issue, Khandu called on the public and lawmakers in Arunachal Pradesh to consider the long-term future of the state and the country. The potential consequences of the Chinese dam project underscore the importance of collaborative efforts to address this environmental threat and protect the region from disasters.