GUWAHATI: While Assam fears the large-scale environmental impact of dams China is reportedly building over the Yarlung Zangbo, the unannounced release of water from a dam by Bhutan on Wednesday caught state authorities off-guard.
The waters inundated large tracts of land in two districts of Assam bordering the Himalayan nation, affecting more than 24,000 people.
India and Bhutan have an agreement to share information on the release of water from the dam. The waters, when released, flow down to Assam. In 2004, Barpeta and Nalbari districts were flooded suddenly after an artificial lake on the upstream of Kurichu dam, located north of the international border shared by Assam, burst.
Authorities of Barpeta and Baksa districts said there was no prior warning by Bhutan about the release, which flooded the Manas and Beki rivers, the two principal tributaries of the Brahmaputra in lower Assam.
Baksa deputy commissioner Sanjeeb Kumar Gogoi said, “The release of the water by Bhutan was unannounced. Coming at the same time as the incessant rains here, the Manas National Park was inundated. However, the waters have receded today (Thursday) and no animal has been affected.”
Large areas of Manas National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, were inundated on Wednesday night after an embankment was breached.
According to state disaster management authorities, 12 villages in Kalgachia revenue circle in Barpeta district were inundated by the sudden rise in the Beki river’s water level.
Barpeta additional deputy commissioner Tankeswar Das said the Bordanga-Ramarpar Road has been breached. A lower primary school at Bordanga has also been inundated.
Reports of China building a dam in its upper reaches in Tibet have already set alarm bells ringing in the state. The state recently moved the Centre to address its concern over China reportedly blocking a tributary of the Brahmaputra in Tibet to built its most expensive hydro project.
Source: Times of India