China’s mega dam in Tibet begins operations

    Zangmu Hydropower Station, Tibet’s biggest ever hydropower project, stands more than 3,300 metres above sea level

    Beijing: China has begun generating electricity from Tibet’s biggest ever hydropower project, the latest dam development on Himalayan rivers that has prompted concern in India.

    The dam on the Yarlung Zangbo river – known as the Brahmaputra in India, where it is a major waterway – will be 116 metres (381 feet) high when completed next year, according to reports.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said Monday that New Delhi had been aware the dam was “coming up”.

    “The Chinese have told us that it should have no implication for us,” he said.

    India has previously expressed concern about damming the Brahmaputra, one of the largest Himalayan rivers and a lifeline to some of India’s remote, farm-dependent northeastern states.

    The first generating unit of the $1.6 billion Zangmu Hydropower Station, which stands more than 3,300 metres above sea level, went into operation on Sunday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said. It will have a total generating capacity of 510,000 kilowatts, Xinhua said, making it the largest dam ever built on the Tibetan plateau.

    India’s Foreign Ministry last year urged China “to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas” of the river, after state media reports that China planned several more dams there.

    Chinese dam construction has been blamed for reduced flow and sudden flooding on the Mekong river which flows into Southeast Asia, claims Beijing has denied.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, “The hydropower stations China builds will not affect the flood prevention and ecological system of downstream areas.”

    Chinese media showed photographs of the Tibetan dam – a large concrete structure that did not appear to have flooded an area significantly wider than the river’s original span.

    Source : DC