GUWAHATI: Assam is on high alert following reports of possible flash floods resulting from a reported landslide blockade of the mainstream Brahmaputra/Yarlung Zangbo River at the Milin section on the Chinese side of the international border. The blockade has resulted in the creation of an artificial lake at that site. Any disruption of the lake has the possibility of creating massive floods in the downstream areas of the Siang and the Brahmaputra.
Meanwhile, a source of the Assam Water Resources department informed The Sentinel on Friday that all districts have been already alerted following information from the Central Water Commission (CWC) regarding the probable floods after the landslide creating an artificial lake in China.
The Assam Government is also in close touch with the CWC and also the Arunachal government to forestall any possibility of calamity. Talking to The Sentinel, Arun Deb Sarma, additional chief engineer Water Resources department said, “We’re closely monitoring the level of the Brahmaputra at multiple places. There’s no need for panic at the moment.”
The Deputy Commissioner of Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh has cautioned the general public not to venture into the Siang River bank.
There are further reports that the water level of the Siang River has come down and at some places it has almost dried up.
Member of Parliament (MP) from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering has in a letter sought the immediate intervention of Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in this regard “to protect the land, water, forest and precious lives of Arunachal Pradesh.” He pointed out: “The situation of rivers along Tuting, Yingkiong and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh is grim. These places are drying up rapidly due to the blockade of Yarlung Zangbo River in China. It will pose big threats to downstream dwellers and will ruin their lives forever.”
Meanwhile, a video conference was held between Union Cabinet Secretary, New Delhi and Indian Embassy in Beijing, China on the issue on Friday evening. It has been communicated by Indian Embassy in China that the water of river Yarlung Zangbo has overflown the block point at Milin Section, 70 kms from Nuxia Hydrological Station , in river Yarlung Zangbo, Tibet, China at 2 pm on Friday. The water level is flowing at the speed of 18,000 cubic meter/second.
The department of Disaster Management of Arunachal Pradesh Government has cautioned DC of East Siang, West Siang, Siang and Upper Siang that the water level of River Siang is expected to rise on Friday night or Saturday. The DC has been asked to take all precautionary measures to meet any eventuality.
On other hand, eight companies of NDRF are being air-lifted from Bhubaneshwar, Odisha to Pasighat/Lilabari on Saturday. They will be positioned at Tuting, Yingkiong, Pangin and Pasighat/Mebo.
Officer on Special Duty to Assam Water Resource Department Minister Keshab Mahanta, Dibakar Bhattacharjya said in view of the situation the department has sent an official to Pasighat to monitor the situation and keep the State Government updated about the development.
Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj talked to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal over the situation. She has asked Sonowal to take all measures so that the State can face any eventuality in the event of any deterioration of the situation.