Brahmaputra River
The Brahmaputra River in Tibet.

Guwahati: The Centre has planned to build India’s second-largest dam on the Brahmaputra river at Yingkiong in Arunachal Pradesh, Mint reported.

The proposed reservoir would store around 10 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water and will be built at around Rs 50,000 crore.

The project is expected to involve an investment of around Rs 50,000 crore and is part of the proposed Upper Siang multi-purpose storage project that will also generate hydropower.

China’s 14th five-year plan has proposed building a massive dam over the Brahmaputra river, known in China as the Yarlung Tsangpo.

India plans to take up this massive project to counter Chinese plans to construct huge dams on River Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo in China).

“We have planned a project for its (China’s dam building plans) mitigation in Yingkiong for constructing a dam in the upper reaches of Arunachal Pradesh. And probably that is going to be one of India’s largest dams. We will hold water in that and will release it in the lean season when there is no rainfall to provide us (water) security,” Mint quoted Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as saying.

“Dams don’t only serve the irrigation purpose or to generate electricity; they also act as a mitigation cushion to prevent floods. Say, if ever from the upper reaches, there is water release, even then we will have a cushion to control release that water,” Shekhawat added.

“Brahmaputra river has a huge quantum of 500 BCM (billion cubic metres) of water flowing into it. Of this, more than 75 per cent comes from our catchment area. That’s the reason why we are not affected by it a lot. But in the non-monsoon season, when the river gets water from snowmelt, we don’t have water in our catchment area,” he said.

The union minister said if China constructs a dam and divert water during the non-monsoon seasons, then it will have an impact from Arunachal Pradesh to Bangladesh.

“Earlier they (China) had said they were not doing anything. Later they said that they are constructing run-of-the-river hydroelectric projects. And now there is evidence that perhaps they can also work on water transfer,” Shekhawat said.

Of the 2,880km length of the river Brahmaputra, 1,625km is in Tibet, 918km in India, and 337km in Bangladesh. Of the total catchment area of 580,000 sq. km, 50% lies in Tibet, 34% in India, and the balance in Bangladesh and Bhutan.


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