Former Water minister calls for monitoring committee on Brahmaputra

Former Water Resources minister and Congress leader Saifuddin Soz has urged the Government of India to push for a joint committee to the activities on the Chinese section of the Brahmaputra.

Soz said that he has noted the assurance of the foreign minister SM Krishna on the matter, but would still prefer to have a monitoring committee. Soz’s comments reflect the unwillingness in several quarters of the establishment to take the Chinese assurance on Brahmaputra at face value.

Krishna had claimed that the Chinese have assured him that they are building hydro-electric dams and not a canal-system, and therefore water will not be diverted.

“The external affairs minister has said that he does not think the Chinese will divert water…, all the same, we should do our homework,” Soz, who was the Water minister during the last government, said.

“Assurances are alright… But, when I was the minister, I had raised the question whether it is possible to have joint monitoring committee and feel assured.. The water resources minister should raise this with the external affairs minister,” he said.

The Brahmaputra (Tsangpo for Tibetans) flows eastward on the northern side of the Himalayas before taking a hairpin turn in extreme east of India. The river is a major source of water and livelihood for people in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and contributes a large chunk of the water flowing through the Ganga in Bangaldesh.