Nothing new in India-China treaty on water sharing: NGO

Guwahati, May 24 (IANS) The flood data agreement signed between India and China during the recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is just a renewal of the existing treaty between the two countries, an NGO alleged here Friday.

“The central government has failed to get any assurance from China on India’s concerns regarding China’s large scale activities for diversion of Brahmaputra (river) waters. China has constructed and is constructing mega dams and hydro-power projects on upstream Brahmaputra and its tributaries,” said Ashok Singhal, president of the Jana Jagriti, while addressing the media.

“Signed five years ago, the earlier treaty was to expire June 4 this year. The recent MoU signed during the Chinese premier’s visit only says that China will provide hydrological data of the Brahmaputra in flood season, twice a day from June to Oct 15, at three hydro stations at Nugesha, Yangcun and Nuxia,” said Singhal.

The NGO had earlier appealed to the Assam and the central governments to take the people of the state into consideration while signing any bilateral water sharing policy with China.

It had also claimed that China has offered only 40 percent of the waters of the mighty river that flows to India.

The NGO said this agreement will spell doom for northeastern states of India, mainly Assam and neighbouring Bangladesh, especially during the monsoon, as China would control water flow as per its requirements.

“The chief minister of Assam has congratulated the prime minister for the agreement signed with China to give an impression that it has achieved what it needed and wanted from China on the Brahmaputra,” Singhal said.

“No assurance or commitment was made by the Chinese premier that they shall desist from further additional construction other than four projects, which they acknowledge on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries,” he added.

“The whole issue has been propagated by the government in such a way that we have achieved everything we wanted on the Brahmaputra from China. This is only to divert the growing public resentment against such dams and hydro-power projects and to cover up the failures of the governments in Assam and in New Delhi to present the issue of the Brahmaputra forcefully and holistically with China during the Chinese premier’s recent visit,” Singhal alleged.

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