NEW DELHI, Feb 15 � If all the large dams proposed by China on rivers within Tibet begin operations, the Brahmaputra river will never be the same again, warns a Canadian environmentalist who has done extensive research on the subject.
�Currently, Chinese engineers are constructing a five-dam cascade on the mid-reaches of the Tsangpo (Brahmaputra). The Zhangmu Dam, with a capacity of 540 MW, has already started operation. The dam lies 86 miles southeast of Lhasa. Construction is under way on the other dams in this cascade,� says Michael Buckley.
�China claims these dams will have no impact downstream, but the fact is that these dams are just the start of things, with bigger and bigger dams on the drawing-board, such as the 800-MW Zhongyu Dam on a Yarlung Tsangpo tributary. Within Tibet, at least 20 large dams are planned for the Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) and its tributaries. If all go into operation, the river will never be the same again,� he told PTI.
Buckley has also written a book, Meltdown in Tibet: China�s Reckless Destruction of Ecosystems from the Highlands of Tibet to the Deltas of Asia, in which he tries to focus on the darker side of China�s emergence as a global super power.
The book has a preface by the Dalai Lama in which the Tibetan spiritual leader says that Meltdown in Tibet should be �part of a wake-up call to the international community and China�.
On the ecological impact on Assam and Arunachal Pradesh that may be posed due to the construction of big dams on the Brahmaputra and other rivers by China, Buckley says the fragile ecosystem is at risk.
The Great Bend (in Tibet) of the Brahmaputra from where the river begins its course towards India holds the greatest hydropower potential in the world, says Buckley, who has travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia, and the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges and has made a documentary on major environmental issues in Tibet. � PTI