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Author: Vaibhav Goyal, IV year of BA.LLB(H) from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University (SSGRC, Hsp.), Chandigarh

The head of Power Construction Corporation of China (POWER CHINA) made a major announcement across the Himalayas a week ago by reporting its arrangements to grow enormous scope hydropower on the Lower Yarlung Tsangpo waterway, known as the Brahmaputra in India.

This has for some time been a bone of conflict between the two nations, with India expecting that enormous scope damming of the stream upstream by China will successfully remove its water supply downstream. The Brahmaputra stream stumbles into the Tibetan Plateau before going through India and Bangladesh. While these feelings of trepidation depend on a misguided judgment of how much water is added to the waterway in the Chinese domain, the environmental effects of enormous dams working in the area will be tremendous.

China intends to assemble the world's greatest hydroelectric dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo waterway in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, as indicated by China's state-possessed media. At the point when finished, the super dam task will create 60 gigawatts and have multiple times more hydroelectric limit than China's biggest dam, the Three Gorges, which has constrained more than 1.4 million individuals to clear. The new dam will be built in Medog County, which has a population of 14,000 individuals.

Beijing has now tried harder on its hydropower projects in Tibet to accomplish carbon detachment by 2060. Coming from softening glacial masses and mountain springs, the Yarlung Tsangpo waterway courses through the watershed of the Himalayas and supplies an expected 1.8 billion individuals with savouring water in China, India, and Bhutan. The Yarlung Tsangpo streams into Bangladesh and the Indian conditions of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, where the waterway is renamed the Brahmaputra, after leaving China.

The Yarlung Tsangpo is of specific importance, as it addresses the body of the goddess Dorje Phagmo, probably the most noteworthy manifestation in Tibetan culture. Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, the head of Environment and Development at the Tibetan Policy Institute, says this worship for the normal world was conceived from the Tibetan Plateau's remarkable scene and goes back hundreds of years.

At the point when designs originally showed up in the Chinese Communist Party's proposition for the fourteenth Five Year Plan and the drawn-out vision for 2035 toward the beginning of November, there was no response in one or the other India or China. The proposition said: "usage of hydropower advancement anticipates the Yarlung Tsangpo," without giving any further subtleties. There was no inclusion in the Chinese media.

The advancement of almost 60 million kilowatts [60 GW] of hydropower in the lower ranges of the Yarlung Tsangpo can give almost 300 billion kWh each year, offering a brief look into the immense size of the task proposed in the Grand Canyon of the Yarlung Tsangpo, where the stream takes a sharp twist and drops more than 2,000 meters, making it an ideal spot to create hydropower. The zone has 70 GW of in fact exploitable hydro assets, more than triple the limit of the Three Gorges Dam.

Following inescapable theory in the Indian media, the representative for the Chinese embassy in India approached and said China would take an adequate responsible attitude toward the venture as far as the interests of downstream regions, and that the task was as yet in the starter arranging and exhibit stage. "There is no requirement for the rest of the world to over-decipher it," he said.

Chinese media has shrouded worries in India widely, including the proposal by an Indian government official of building a major dam on the Siang River – as the Yarlung Tsangpo is called when it crosses the line into Arunachal Pradesh. The authority said India's dam project, arranged in the Dibang Valley, would have a supply, and that would level out water stream changes upstream "to moderate the unfavourable effect of the Chinese dam projects".

The Siang streams down the Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh enter the Assam valley, joins two different waterways, and together they become the Brahmaputra. By then, the Siang contributes around 30% of the water of the Brahmaputra. Other enormous feeders join the Brahmaputra along the Assam valley in India, so it conveys multiple times more water when it leaves the country to Bangladesh than when the Siang enters Arunachal Pradesh.

China has as of now operationalized the USD 1.5 billion Zam Hydropower Station, the biggest in Tibet in 2015. About the new dam, the Global Times report said that the hypothesis regarding China wanting to construct a "super hydropower station" in Medog district, where the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is found, has coursed for quite a long time.

Medog is the last district in Tibet which borders Arunachal Pradesh. There is a great worry in India since China's arrangement to redirect the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo to northern China has not disappeared, however, it keeps on confronting genuine resistance inside China. The effects of environmental change are now intense in this area, known as the top of the world. The glacial masses and snowlines of the Himalayas are withdrawing. If these proceeds, the streams of the Tibetan Plateau could initially flood and afterwards evaporate, transforming the land into a desert.

The hydropower station could create revenue of 20 billion yuan (USD three billion) every year for the Tibet Autonomous Region, Yan said. India and China set up the Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) in 2006 to examine different issues identified with trans-line streams. Under existing reciprocal Memorandums of Understanding, China gives hydrological data of Brahmaputra River and Sutlej River to India during the flood seasons. Under the plan, China gives flood season information of the Brahmaputra waterway between May 15 and October 15 consistently.

The new dam's capacity to create hydropower could be multiple times that of focal China's Three Gorges Dam, which has the biggest introduced hydropower limit on the planet. The new dam will be worked with centre around keeping up China's public safety.

For one, this isn't the primary dam the Chinese have scheduled for development on the Yarlung Zangbo, yet the fifth. Notwithstanding the Zangmu hydropower project that started activities in 2015, dams are being developed at Dagu, Jiexu, and Jiacha. It is likely hence that more dams will follow the proposed Great Bend project in the coming years.

Additionally, the Chinese have not been straightforward about their dam-building action. For example, Beijing more than once denied plans to fabricate a dam at Zangmu for quite a long while, at that point proceeded with the development of a hydropower project there. This mistiness over its dam projects has naturally energized doubt in India that the Chinese while keeping up that the new dam on the Yarlung Zangbo is a run-of-the-stream project intended for hydropower age alone, will ultimately redirect water for horticulture and different purposes.


Oliver Lees, China to build the world’s biggest dam on sacred Tibetan river, Aljazeera, February 08, 2021

Sibel Morrow, China plans world’s biggest dam build on Tibetan river, Anadolu Agency, February 09, 2021

China’s plans for gigantic Brahmaputra dam strains relations with India further, The Third Pole, December 4, 2020

China to build a major dam on Brahmaputra river: Official, The Economic Times, November 29, 2020

Author's Biography

Vaibhav Goyal is a 4 th year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University (SSGRC, Hsp.), Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, Panjab State Human Rights Commission, Punjab State Legal Services Authority, etc. His research projects include the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. He had also participated in various international and national conferences including the World Law Forum Conference 2018 New Delhi on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation, National Law Conclave 2020 New Delhi , The International Conference On Arbitration In The Era Of Globalisation- the Third Edition Organised By Indian Council Of Arbitration (ICA) With Support Of FICCI At Federation House, New Delhi 2020 and much more. He loves to write on the issues of the general social importance mixing it with the legal angle and the consequences of it on our society. He wants a change in the society and by the persuasion of his writing skills, he wants to create a difference.


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