An alert has been sounded in three Siang districts of Arunachal Pradesh and in Upper Assam after China informed India that the water level of the Tsangpo river was rising. The water discharge in the Brahmaputra basin by China last week is highest in last 50 years.
The Tsangpo, as it is known in Tibet, flows as the Siang in Arunachal and the Brahmaputra in Assam.
The report from the Chinese government said the Tsangpo was swelling because of heavy rain in China. The various GD (gauge and discharge) stations on the Tsangpo had observed a discharge of 9,020 cumec water on Wednesday morning, reportedly the highest in 50 years.
The Central Water Commission, Dibrugarh, said people need not panic. The river had discharged 8,070 cumec water on August 14 and the difference of 950 cumec would not inflict severe damages, it said, adding that foolproof precautionary measures should be taken.
However, the administrations of the districts through which the Siang/Brahmaputra passes, have been put on alert. The Lakhimpur and Dibrugarh administrations in Upper Assam on Thursday cancelled leaves of all officials.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the East Siang district administration asked people to be on alert and not venture into the river for fishing or swimming as low lying areas were inundated.
East Siang deputy commissioner Tamiyo Tatak said he was in contact with his counterparts in Upper Siang and Siang districts over the abrupt rise in the water level in the upper ridge since Wednesday night but it was not abnormal.
Arunachal Pradesh government reported to the state government that 30 people were stranded on an island of the Siang under Sille-Oyan circle of the district for the past 24 hours and needed to be air-evacuated. He said only the Indian Air Force could carry out the mission as the island does not have space for a helicopter to land. He also informed the station air commander of Mohanbari air force station, Dibrugarh, of the situation.
In view of the flood warning issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the Dibrugarh District Administration has taken precautionary measures in the district.
"We are closely monitoring the situation. We have sent our team to various flood-prone areas under Chabua revenue circle. If required, we will evacuate people from those areas," Deputy Commissioner Loya Maduri said.
He said that vehicles, boats have been kept ready at vulnerable areas. "We have deputed the Circle Officers, Zonal Officers, Sector officers and other officers in all the vulnerable areas to monitor the situation and take necessary measures in case of any eventuality," he added.
The high waves of the river are reportedly confined only to the river's reaches in Pasighat and no impact of this changed behaviour of the river has been recorded in the downstream areas of Assam.
Former Education Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Bosiram Siram said, "Since Wednesday night, the dwellers of adjoining areas of Siang river are panicking about the increase in water level. Most of the people have shifted their base over the night."
As per the Central Water Commission, the highest water level recorded (157.54m) was on June 11, 2000. The water level was 153.27 metre at noon on Thursday. The danger level is 153.960 metre.
"In such position, the commission has given alert to administration for precautionary steps," Mr Siram added.
(With Inputs From ANI)