ITANAGAR: The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, informed that the Centre is contemplating the construction of a substantial barrage on the Siang River adding that the recurring floods in the river have become a matter of national concern.
Addressing the Assembly on Wednesday, Chief Minister Khandu brought to light an important development regarding China’s 14th five-year plan, which includes the approval of a massive 60,000-megawatt dam project on the Siang River in Tibet.
He expressed concerns that if this dam were to be constructed in the future, it would undoubtedly have a significant downstream impact on the Siang belt in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and even Bangladesh.
“The Centre has already raised this issue with China,” Chief Minister Khandu affirmed. Additionally, he announced his plans to visit the Siang Valley today to engage in discussions with local villagers and seek their cooperation in allowing surveys for the proposed barrage construction. “I urged community leaders to come forward and actively participate in discussions about the future of the mighty Siang River,” he added.
During his address, CM Khandu also shared that his government had discussed the Siang River’s recurring floods during the recent Brahmaputra Board meeting with the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The Chief Minister’s replying to Congress MLA from Mebo, Lombo Tayeng, who raised concerns about the Siang River floods during the Zero Hour discussion and demanded that these floods be officially declared a national calamity.
In response to this demand, Chief Minister Khandu clarified that there is no provision, whether executive or legal, to declare it as a national calamity in the current framework.
He pointed out that the existing guidelines of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) do not encompass the declaration of a disaster as a national calamity. Furthermore, the Disaster Management Act of 2005 does not mention the term “national calamity.”