China Funding NGOs Against Hydro Projects
- 09 Sep 2019
- 4 min read
According to Government officials, China is trying to fund certain civil society organizations to incite protests against hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
- NGOs are protesting on India’s efforts to revive work on the long-pending hydro projects, including the 2,000 megawatts (MW) Lower Subansiri and 2,880MW Dibang projects by state-run NHPC Ltd.
- Government is also trying to expedite the completion of 600MW Tawang-I and 800MW Tawang-II projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
- NGO are protesting. for protection of the Forest Rights Act and ecological importance of the region. The region is home to exotic species like barking deer, sambar, wild yak, serow, goral, wild boar, red panda, clouded leopard, snow leopard and musk deer.
- The hydropower potential of Arunachal Pradesh: There are 103 private hydropower projects in the state (still to take off) with a total capacity of 35 gigawatts (GW).
- Framework on Transboundary River between India and China
- There is no bilateral water treaty between India and China, except only a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Brahmaputra and Sutlej for sharing hydrological data related to floods and emergencies exists.
- Reason for the revival of hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh
- China is working on an ambitious $62-billion south-north water diversion scheme for the Yarlung Tsangpo, the upper stream of the Brahmaputra river.
- China seeks to implement the Brahmaputra project to address its water woes arising from the demographic explosion, industrial upsurge, the rapid expansion of cities, and greater demand for irrigated agriculture farming.
- According to China: 90 % of Tibetan runoff flows downstream to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
- Thereby, China is aggressively working for its priority rights and is actively building dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), to claim it’s right under Principle of Prior Appropriation.
- India fears that if China builds dam projects in the Tibetan plateau, it would threaten to reduce the flow of river water into India.
- Therefore, in response to that India is of the view that any delay in building hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh on rivers originating in China will affect India’s strategy of establishing its prior-use claim over the waters.
The Principle of Prior Appropriation
- The principle of prior appropriation favours neither upstream or downstream State but the one that puts the water to first use, thereby protecting the right to first use of water as in the past.
- However, according to some experts, 80 %of the waters of the Brahmaputra are added to the river after it enters India. Hence, Chinese building a dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), thus, need not be viewed with alarm.