People residing on the banks of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday, as water overflowing from a landslip-induced barrier across the river upstream in China eased within 14 hours.
Beijing had informed New Delhi that the natural overflow from the barrier in Yaluzangbu (Tsangpo) occurred at 2.30 p.m. on Friday and the discharge was 18,000 cubic metres per second. The barrier was formed soon after a landslip at Jiala village in Milin county of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China on October 17.
The Tsangpo flows into Arunachal Pradesh as the Siang, which meets two other rivers to form the Brahmaputra downstream in Assam.
Soon after the Central Water Commission issued an alert about the Tsangpo barrier breach, Arunachal Pradesh’s Disaster Management Secretary, Bidol Tayeng, instructed the authorities of districts that the Siang passes through to take precautionary measures.
“A fairly high volume of clear water reached Pasighat town around 7.30 a.m., but the flow was not as forceful as we had feared. The water level has been rising, besides turning turbid by 10 a.m., but there’s no reason to panic,” Tamiyo Tatak, Deputy Commissioner of East Siang district, told The Hindu .
The water took more than 14 hours to reach Pasighat, the headquarters of East Siang district, close to the border with Assam.
Tuting, in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, is the habitation on the Siang river closest to the China border. The impact at Tuting could not be ascertained because of poor connectivity.
Mr. Tayeng said the preparation for averting a disaster was the first of its kind involving the State machinery, the Union Home Ministry and government agencies such as the National Disaster Response Force, the Air Force, the Central Water Commission and the India Space Research Organisation.