06/18/2011, 00.00
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Chinese dams on the Brahmaputra threaten lives of Indians and Bangladeshis

China wants to launch an anti-drought project to save region of Xinjiang. Despite Beijing’s guarantees, India and Bangladesh fear the diversion of the river will have a negative impact on the ecosystem.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The new Chinese anti-drought project, which envisages the diversion of the Brahmaputra to the arid Xinjiang region, is raising serious concern in India and Bangladesh. Although Beijing has assured that there will be no negative impact on the ecosystem in the central basin or downstream of the river, the two countries instead fear for the people who live along its course.

In November last year, China had already announced a first project concerning the construction of a dam on the Tsangpo (the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra), with a view to creating the world's largest hydroelectric plant with a capacity of 510MW. But this new plan is causing concern in India and Bangladesh: Some Indian satellites in fact, have photographed the construction of several dams along the tributaries of the river. According to some experts, the very minor deviation of these courses will slow the flow of the Brahmaputra, causing damage to local populations as in the case of dams on the Mekong.

The Brahmaputra, one Asia’s major rivers, has its source in south-western Tibet. Nearly 3 thousand kilometers long, it winds its way through the Himalayas, and then through India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam) to Bangladesh where it flows into the Bay of Bengal.

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