Dams pose a threat to Kaziranga and Manas

GUWAHATI: The officials of Aaranyak, city-based biodiversity conservation NGO, feel thatUNESCO should take cognizance of the impact of large dams in Arunachal Pradesh andBhutan on the state’s world heritage sites, Kaziranga national park and Manas national park.

“Unless sincere efforts are made to check the large number of ecologically harmful and unsustainable dams in Eastern Himalayas, it will only be a matter of time before Kaziranga and Manas become seriously damaged and lose its world heritage site status. As UNESCO is the apex authority to select and monitor the status of world heritage sites, it should take cognizance of the threats posed by the large dams in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan on the two world heritage sites in Assam. These sites must be saved at any cost. UNESCO should properly assess the impact of large dams on the two sites and take up mitigation measures,” said Aaranyak secretary general, Bibhab Kumar Talukdar.

“Over 100 large dams are planned in Arunachal Pradesh’s Siang, Dibang, Lohit and Subansiri rivers alone. As Kaziranga is on the Brahmaputra plain, the dams are likely to trigger changes in the flood cycle and ecology of the river and affect the national park. On the other hand, the existing 60 MW Kuri chu dam and the proposed 720 MW Mangde chu dam in Bhutan are also posing a threat to Manas. The impact of Kuri chu is already being felt in Manas and other parts of western Assam,” he added.

“Kuri chu dam releases excess water during floods which inundates large swathes of land in Assam. A significant amount of Manas’ landmass and forest cover has already been washed away following excess water release from Kuri chu dam,” said Aaranyak’s water, climate and hazard programme head, Partha J Das.

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Article Credit : Times of India