China plans a 1,000-km tunnel to divert water of river Brahmaputra

BEIJING: Top scientists backed by the ruling Communist Party of China are working on a plan to drain the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river near the Indian border and divert the water through a 1,000-km tunnel, the world’s longest, to arid Xinjiang.

The Tsangpo flows into India through Arunachal Pradesh as the Siang before becoming the Brahmaputra in Assam — the source livelihood for millions in the country’s northeast.

The tunnel project, submitted to the government in March, is in the blueprint stage but could trigger a serious water crisis in India’s northeast if implemented as the Tsangpo is an upper riparian river.

Chinese engineers are “testing techniques” that could be used to build the tunnel to carry water from Tibet to the Taklimakan Desert in Xinjiang, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported, citing experts involved in the project.

The recommendation from the scientists is simple — drain the Tsangpo in Tibet Autonomous Region and tunnel it to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which lies in the rain-shadow area of the Tibet plateau.

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