China’s parliament has given permission to build a large dam and hydropower plant on the Yarlung Zangbo River in the low-lying Tibet region bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
According to the Hindustan Times newspaper, the project was approved at the meeting of the National People’s Congress on Thursday and is part of the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan.
The Yarlung Zangbo River flows through the Tibetan Autonomous Region into Arunachal where it is named Siang. After this, it is known as Brahmaputra in Assam and then from there it enters Bangladesh.
When the project was announced in November last year, China said that it was its legal right to build a dam at the bottom of the river.
China had assured India and Bangladesh about the hydropower project that it would not compromise their interests.
He Lifeng, director of China’s top planning body, the national development and reform commission (NDRC), said “the development of hydropower on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river” is a world-class landmark project alongside the Sichuan-Tibet railway and the coastal railway project along the Yangtze river.
Last Saturday, Che Dalha, deputy Communist Party chief of TAR had said authorities should “strive to begin construction this year”.
“Comprehensive planning and environmental impact assessments for the project should be approved as soon as possible,” he said on Saturday, according to a press release quoted by Reuters and published on Monday on an official regional government website.
The new dam’s ability to generate hydropower could be three times that of central China’s Three Gorges Dam, which has the largest installed hydropower capacity in the world.