High tides in Siang, alert sounded in Assam
ITANAGAR/GUWAHATI/DIBRUGARH, Aug 30: Unusual high tides in Siang River triggered fear psychosis among the people of East and Upper Siang districts in Arunachal Pradesh, while the Assam Government on Thursday issued an alert to the district administrations concerned on the possible unprecedented rise in the water level of river Brahmaputra as a result of the release of excess water by China in the Tsangpo River. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has also issued a warning in this regard. “However, there is no need for any panic as the water level of the Siang appeared to fluctuate,” stated a high-level source of the water resources department adding that “the Siang constitutes just 30 per cent of the Brahmaputra water.”
Talking to The Sentinel, Water resources Minister Keshab Mahanta said: “State water resources officers are camping at Pasighat to monitor the water level of river Siang. Personnel are carrying out hour-by-hour collection of data. We are in constant touch with the Central Water Commission (CWC) as well.”
Meanwhile, the district administrations of Dibrugarh, Dhemaji, and Majuli have in separate notifications ordered all the district officers not to leave the headquarters. Furthermore, all the officials under the control of the respective Circle Officers were expected to follow suit, and not leave the headquarters without prior approval.
At 6 pm on Thursday, the water level of Brahmaputra in Dibrugarh was at 105.50 metre while at Pasighat the Siang recorded 153.33 metre. A report from the Chinese government sent to its Indian counterpart on Wednesday informed that the Tsangpo River was swollen due to heavy rainfall in Chinese portion with discharge of 9020 cumec as observed at various GD stations of Tsangpo River at 8 am on Wednesday.
There is nothing to panic as the Central Water Commission (CWC) has reported that the Grand Canyon of Tsangpo on August 14 was 8070 cumec but its increase should not inflict severe damages, an official report quoting the Chinese report said.
Large-scale soil erosion on left bank of the river toward Lower Mebo under Mebo subdivision in East Siang district has been witnessed since last few days, while 15 houses were being washed away in Seram-Ramku villages under Mebo circle, official sources informed.
“The most affected villages were Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Sigar, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing and Mer,” Mebo MLA Lombo Tayeng informed.
“The villagers are under constant threat and many have abandoned their houses. Due to large scale siltation in the river bed the tides in the river are rising,” Tayeng told reporters in the state legislative assembly today.
A red alert has been sounded to residents of Borguli, Seram, Namsing, Mer and Sigar villages on left bank of the river as water volume have been rising, he added.
The water level of the river at Gelling in Upper Siang district is also rising, Health Minister Alo Libang, who represents the district, informed.
Tayeng said he had already apprised the situation to Chief Minister Pema Khandu and wrote a letter on Wednesday to Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on the issue pleading him to take up the matter with the Centre to send an inter-ministerial team to survey the affected areas besides taking up flood control measures to save the people.
“I have already announced to provide CGI sheets to the over one thousand affected families and also to provide relief of one lakh to each family from my MLA local area development fund,” the lawmaker said.
Tayeng, who is also the advisor to Khandu, said: “The water of the river at present is totally muddy which indicates that there might be some activities in the Chinese side.”
The MLA also urged upon the Centre to take up the matter with Beijing.
In October last year, the river suddenly turned murky which prompted Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to take up the matter with China.
Ering had alleged the water turned muddy following construction activity by China in the upstream.
The Tsangpo River which, originates in Tibetan Glacier, after entering into Indian territory, is known as Siang and later known as Brahmaputra in Assam.