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Tibetans Say Dangerous Lake Result of China's Development Work

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 2004/08/15; August 15, 2004.]

Dharamsala, August 14, 2004 (ANI) - Tibetan government-in-exile has accused China of carrying out extensive construction on the river Pareechu, resulting in the formation of an artificial lake in Tibet, which is threatening flash floods in northern parts of India.

The lake has formed behind a landslide late last month that blocked the Pareechu River, a tributary of the River Sutlej in Tibet, Indian satellite images show.

China has denied any development work in the area. Eight villages on the banks of the Sutlej in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, around 370 km north of New Delhi, have been evacuated and 350 more villages are threatened by floods.

China has ruled out controlled blasting of the landslip to allow the water to gradually drain because of the area's mountainous terrain, Indian officials said.

Beijing has also barred Indian experts from visiting the lake. But army officers said the two militaries had begun to swap information through a hotline on the frontier.

The exiled Tibetans, fighting for independence from China, have long opposed any activity by China in the region saying it threatened its sovereignty.

"China always carries out development work at every river. So I cannot say that there is no development work going. We believe that there is work going on. If there is nothing then why isn't the Indian team being allowed to visit the area. And why is Chinese government not helping India in solving the problem," Tibetan government-in-exile's Prime Minister Samdhong Rimpoche said in Dharamshala town, headquarters of their government.

Six power plants in Himachal Pradesh have partially shut down due to a fear of floods, disrupting power supply in northern India.

The threat of flash flooding comes amid South Asia's worst monsoon flooding in 15 years that has killed more than 1,700 people, mostly in Bangladesh and eastern India.


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