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Centre flayed for keeping people in the dark

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Feb 26 � Accusing the Government of India of keeping the people in the dark on the growing Chinese interventions on the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo in Tibet), Jana Jagriti, an NGO, today demanded that the Centre take the people into confidence and make public the findings of the inter-ministerial committee.

�There has been no response by the Government on the issue of growing Chinese interventions on the Brahmaputra in Tibet. Despite satellite imageries establishing the Chinese design, it chooses to remain silent on the matter of vital public importance, especially for Assam. This is tantamount to undermining national interest,� Ashok Singhal, president of Jana Jagriti which had earlier made startling revelations on the issue with satellite imagery, told the media today.

Referring to a news in The Assam Tribune�s February 26 issue in which the inter-ministerial committee was stated to be not taking the Chinese denials (on dam construction or diversion of the Brahmaputra) on face value, Singhal said that apparently the government was �accepting the facts of Jana Jagriti through the backdoor but it needs to take the people into confidence and make public the findings of the committee.�

Regretting that the Government of India was keeping the people in the dark on a life-and-death issue, Singhal said that unwarranted interventions on the Brahmaputra � the lifeline of Assam � could jeopardize the existence of the inhabitants of the Brahmaputra Valley. �We had raised several questions concerning the sinister developments with authenticated facts and figures but the Government has not come up with any answer till date,� he added.

Criticizing the role of the State Government, Singhal said that the Tarun Gogoi-led government was taking an anti-people stand by not pursuing the matter seriously with the Centre.

�The Assam government�s stand is anti-people, as it has been silent on this grave issue which if left unaddressed, can destroy the Brahmaputra Valley civilization. It owes the people of Assam an explanation on this,� Singhal said, adding that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, too � a representative from Assam � was betraying the people of the State by his weak and unconvincing stand.

Singhal said that construction of big dams by China on the Mekong river was having adverse impacts on downstream nations such as Cambodia, Laos, etc., and large-scale interventions on the Brahmaputra would result in similar sufferings for the people of Assam and the North-east.

�Commissioning of nine big dams on Mekong is causing extreme floods as well as severe water scarcity during the lean season in the downstream nations. Assam is bound to face a similar situation unless the Chinese move is halted,� Singhal said.

Singhal also gave a detailed account of 27 big dams/water diversion projects undertaken by China which are in different stages of implementation. �The cumulative impact of these interventions on the Brahmaputra and consequently on Assam and the North-east will be catastrophic,� he said.

Singhal also regretted the role of the MPs of the North-east on the issue, saying that a strong and collective stand would have compelled the Centre into initiating purposeful action.

�India must take up the matter on the international platform to thwart China�s uncalled-for designs on the Brahmaputra. India can also construct smaller reservoirs in the region and establish first user�s rights,� he said.

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Centre flayed for keeping people in the dark

GUWAHATI, Feb 26 � Accusing the Government of India of keeping the people in the dark on the growing Chinese interventions on the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo in Tibet), Jana Jagriti, an NGO, today demanded that the Centre take the people into confidence and make public the findings of the inter-ministerial committee.

�There has been no response by the Government on the issue of growing Chinese interventions on the Brahmaputra in Tibet. Despite satellite imageries establishing the Chinese design, it chooses to remain silent on the matter of vital public importance, especially for Assam. This is tantamount to undermining national interest,� Ashok Singhal, president of Jana Jagriti which had earlier made startling revelations on the issue with satellite imagery, told the media today.

Referring to a news in The Assam Tribune�s February 26 issue in which the inter-ministerial committee was stated to be not taking the Chinese denials (on dam construction or diversion of the Brahmaputra) on face value, Singhal said that apparently the government was �accepting the facts of Jana Jagriti through the backdoor but it needs to take the people into confidence and make public the findings of the committee.�

Regretting that the Government of India was keeping the people in the dark on a life-and-death issue, Singhal said that unwarranted interventions on the Brahmaputra � the lifeline of Assam � could jeopardize the existence of the inhabitants of the Brahmaputra Valley. �We had raised several questions concerning the sinister developments with authenticated facts and figures but the Government has not come up with any answer till date,� he added.

Criticizing the role of the State Government, Singhal said that the Tarun Gogoi-led government was taking an anti-people stand by not pursuing the matter seriously with the Centre.

�The Assam government�s stand is anti-people, as it has been silent on this grave issue which if left unaddressed, can destroy the Brahmaputra Valley civilization. It owes the people of Assam an explanation on this,� Singhal said, adding that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, too � a representative from Assam � was betraying the people of the State by his weak and unconvincing stand.

Singhal said that construction of big dams by China on the Mekong river was having adverse impacts on downstream nations such as Cambodia, Laos, etc., and large-scale interventions on the Brahmaputra would result in similar sufferings for the people of Assam and the North-east.

�Commissioning of nine big dams on Mekong is causing extreme floods as well as severe water scarcity during the lean season in the downstream nations. Assam is bound to face a similar situation unless the Chinese move is halted,� Singhal said.

Singhal also gave a detailed account of 27 big dams/water diversion projects undertaken by China which are in different stages of implementation. �The cumulative impact of these interventions on the Brahmaputra and consequently on Assam and the North-east will be catastrophic,� he said.

Singhal also regretted the role of the MPs of the North-east on the issue, saying that a strong and collective stand would have compelled the Centre into initiating purposeful action.

�India must take up the matter on the international platform to thwart China�s uncalled-for designs on the Brahmaputra. India can also construct smaller reservoirs in the region and establish first user�s rights,� he said.

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