Claude Arpi | Hydro, rail projects in Tibet a threat to India

CLAUDE ARPI for Deccan Chronicle

Recent developments not far from the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh are worrying. On March 29, Dave Petley, pro-vice-chancellor (research and innovation) at the University of Sheffield in Britain noted on his blog: “I received an email from GöranEkstrom of Columbia University making a small group of us aware that he had detected, using seismic instruments, a probable large-scale landslide in the vicinity of the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet… an idea of the mass (in this case about 100 million tonnes– a very large one indeed).”

Whether it was triggered by an earthquake in this highly seismic area, is still not clear; it could also be due to torrential rain.

Mr Pethley further explained: “Either way, at YarlungTsangpoit, is clear that a large amount of rock and ice have detached from the east side of the tributary valley, moving westwards and then to the south. Once again this has formed a catastrophic channelised flow that has travelled down the channel to deposit a large volume in the main channel.”

The Yarlung Tsangpo, which becomes the Siang on entering Arunachal Pradesh and later the Brahmaputra in Assam (and the Meghna in Bangladesh) is one of the most eco-sensitive regions of the planet.

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