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Panel fails to get vital documents

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, Aug 13 � The State�s expert committee formed in 2009 to study the impacts of the proposed Chinese diversion of the Brahmaputra on the Assam part of the river has become redundant. It failed to lay its hand on the data concerning the Chinese part of the river.

According to chairman of the committee Prof Dulal Chandra Goswami, it appears that the expert committee was engaged in a shadow boxing without providing it with the factual scientific data on the Chinese part of the river, which were very much in the possession of the Indian Government.

Prof Goswami rued the data concerning the Chinese part of the river could not be procured by the committee even after repeated requests to the Union Government. Union Government is the custodian of the hydrological data on the Chinese part of the river. It uses to receive these data from China under an agreement.

This development reflects the existing trust-deficit between the Government at the Centre and in the State, Prof Goswami said.

The State Government formed the committee through a notification on December 15, 2009 with Prof Goswami as the chairman, Dr Jogendra Nath Sarma of Dibrugarh University, Dr Anup Kumar Gogoi and Dr Arup Kumar Sarma of IIT, Guwahati and Dr Bipul Talukdar of Assam Engineering College as the members and the Secretary, Water Resources Department (WRD) as its member secretary. Nomal Chandra Das was the WRD secretary then.

The committee was asked to study the implications in case of implementation of any project resulting in diversion of water or damming of the Brahmaputra in China in the context of water availability, hydrological, hydropower, environmental, ecological and socio-economical impact on Assam.

The committee was also asked to make necessary recommendations and suggestions to the State Government to take appropriate steps.

It was stated in the Government notification that the Committee might seek information or data from other agencies as well as the Union Ministries concerned. The committee was asked to submit its report within three months.

It was supplied with some necessary hydrological and other data related with the Indian part of the Brahmaputra and the same were analysed by the committee members. It held five meetings on January 4, February 6, April 29, May 29 and September 20, 2010.

It requested the Ministry of Water Resources {Barak and Brahmaputra (B&B) Wing} on May 7 and 24, 2010 for supply of hydrological data concerning the Brahmaputra�s Chinese part.

In response, the Senior Deputy Commissioner (NE) of the Union Ministry of Water Resources (B&B Wing) wrote to the committee�s secretary on June 15, 2010. The letter (No 31/26/2008/B&B 12627-28), said, ��As per the MoU signed between Government of India and Republic of China, the flood season hydrological information received from China is for the specific purpose of flood forecasting and mitigation. The Government of India has also to provide data utilisation report to China. Data used for any purpose other than mutually agreed in the MoU may jeopardize the aforesaid release of data by China to India.�

Prof Goswami has called for immediate steps to take up the issue with the Chinese Government for a permanent solution to such vital issues concerning the interest of the country.

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Panel fails to get vital documents

GUWAHATI, Aug 13 � The State�s expert committee formed in 2009 to study the impacts of the proposed Chinese diversion of the Brahmaputra on the Assam part of the river has become redundant. It failed to lay its hand on the data concerning the Chinese part of the river.

According to chairman of the committee Prof Dulal Chandra Goswami, it appears that the expert committee was engaged in a shadow boxing without providing it with the factual scientific data on the Chinese part of the river, which were very much in the possession of the Indian Government.

Prof Goswami rued the data concerning the Chinese part of the river could not be procured by the committee even after repeated requests to the Union Government. Union Government is the custodian of the hydrological data on the Chinese part of the river. It uses to receive these data from China under an agreement.

This development reflects the existing trust-deficit between the Government at the Centre and in the State, Prof Goswami said.

The State Government formed the committee through a notification on December 15, 2009 with Prof Goswami as the chairman, Dr Jogendra Nath Sarma of Dibrugarh University, Dr Anup Kumar Gogoi and Dr Arup Kumar Sarma of IIT, Guwahati and Dr Bipul Talukdar of Assam Engineering College as the members and the Secretary, Water Resources Department (WRD) as its member secretary. Nomal Chandra Das was the WRD secretary then.

The committee was asked to study the implications in case of implementation of any project resulting in diversion of water or damming of the Brahmaputra in China in the context of water availability, hydrological, hydropower, environmental, ecological and socio-economical impact on Assam.

The committee was also asked to make necessary recommendations and suggestions to the State Government to take appropriate steps.

It was stated in the Government notification that the Committee might seek information or data from other agencies as well as the Union Ministries concerned. The committee was asked to submit its report within three months.

It was supplied with some necessary hydrological and other data related with the Indian part of the Brahmaputra and the same were analysed by the committee members. It held five meetings on January 4, February 6, April 29, May 29 and September 20, 2010.

It requested the Ministry of Water Resources {Barak and Brahmaputra (B&B) Wing} on May 7 and 24, 2010 for supply of hydrological data concerning the Brahmaputra�s Chinese part.

In response, the Senior Deputy Commissioner (NE) of the Union Ministry of Water Resources (B&B Wing) wrote to the committee�s secretary on June 15, 2010. The letter (No 31/26/2008/B&B 12627-28), said, ��As per the MoU signed between Government of India and Republic of China, the flood season hydrological information received from China is for the specific purpose of flood forecasting and mitigation. The Government of India has also to provide data utilisation report to China. Data used for any purpose other than mutually agreed in the MoU may jeopardize the aforesaid release of data by China to India.�

Prof Goswami has called for immediate steps to take up the issue with the Chinese Government for a permanent solution to such vital issues concerning the interest of the country.

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