Nothing alarmist in China dam plan on Brahmaputra: Khurshid

Shillong: Union Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday ruled out any threat from the Chinese plans to set up a dam in the Brahmaputra river, saying "information available with the government is not indicative of any concern".

"People often worry about the impact of what the Chinese do on the Brahmaputra. Our own assessment of the present indicates there is no reason to be alarmed. China has also given clear assurances and from our own understanding we can say there would not be any major diversion of water to other parts of China," Khurshid told reporters here.

The Water Resources minister said around 80 per cent of the water that flows on the Brahmaputra originates in Indian territory.

However, the minister contended that though there was nothing alarmist "as of now, we have to keep eyes open and be careful."

"We need to store some water on the Brahmaputra. We will have to see what we can do on our side to insure some water storage and steps to address the flood issues," he said.

China, which is planning to build a run-of-the-river dam to generate 510 MW power, has told India several times, including during Prime Minister Wen Jiabao`s visit to New Delhi last year, that it was not aimed at diverting the waters to affect the flow to India and other lower riparian nations.

"At present, the hydropower station on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river is not a very big one and will not lead to any big change in the downstream water levels or affect the harnessing efforts by the downstream countries," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu had said a few days ago.

After inaugurating a workshop on Water Resources Management, Khurshid underlined the need for faster dialogue with neighbouring countries to address the flood issues.

"Flood is a major concern for the Northeast and northern states, particularly on the rivers that flows from Nepal.

Dialogue with neighbouring countries is needed so that some storage could be done in their (Nepal) territory," he said.