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Centre should verify reports of China's tunnel construction plan: Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

News Agencies | Updated on: 3 November 2017, 15:24 IST

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has requested the Centre to use satellite imaging to verify reports about China's plan to construct a 1,000-km tunnel for diverting water from the Brahmaputra river.

The BJP minister suspects that China may use 'water bomb' against riparian India by opening the gates of water reservoirs.

"There were reports in the Chinese newspaper which the government denied. I am not in a position to say what is happening in China and now it is for the government of India to verify which is true," Sarma told reporters on Thursday, and added, "India has lot of advance knowledge in satellite imaging and if they are constructing, India satellites will detect that. So let us wait for what government of India says on this."

Although the Chinese Government has dismissed such reports, the Assam minister raised concerns in light of the rapid and sudden floods occurring in the state despite lack of rainfall.

"China has not shared the hydrological data of Brahmaputra for last one year. Now what is happening in Assam is there are rapid and sudden floods. Initially we thought that it must be water released from any hydroelectric project but during the last floods, we noticed that there has been no rain in Assam or Arunachal Pradesh," Sarma said.

Sarma further demanded that India should press China to share the hydrological data and if required, go to the international forum for the same.

"The Central Government has assured us that they would take it up with the Chinese Government. We also feel that if they are not willing to give us the data, we should go to some international forum," Sarma said.

Reports published in the Chinese newspapers said that the engineers there were testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000-km tunnel - the world's longest - to carry water from Tibet to Xinjiang by diverting the Yarlung Tsangpo river in southern Tibet to the Taklimakan Desert in Xinjiang.

Downstream, in India, the river becomes the Brahmaputra, which joins the Ganges in Bangladesh.

Speaking on the state's issues, the Assam Miinster said the biggest hurdle in the development of Tripura was the Left, and that 50 per cent of the problems would be removed once the Manik Sarkar Government was out of power.

He also demanded that all mysterious murder-related cases - right from TV journalist Santanu Bhowmik to the BJP workers, which are under SIT investigation - should be handed over to the CBI.

Sarma informed that the BJP would be visiting Tripura for ground inspection about the reality of the murder of TV journalist Santanu Bhowmik on November 10, and that it was planning to make the journalist's murder a prime issue in the coming Parliament session.

The BJP leader who was on a two-day visit to Tripura to see party's activities, alleged that the SIT of the Tripura Police was working as the B-team of the CPM and hence, he added, all murder and crime cases committed by its leaders are handed over to the SIT just for an eyewash and with very poorly investigated charge sheets.

"The court has no other option but to acquit them," Sarma added.


First published: 3 November 2017, 15:14 IST