The Chinese government has started construction on the Bartse Hydropower dam and an adjoining canal, which are part of a large-scale Hydropower project in Ngamring County in Shigatse.
[Posted on T.T Tibetan site 31 October 2022] Work for the Bartse Hydropower project began on the 28th of October and is expected to be completed in the next five to five and a half years. The project, one of the 150 key Hydropower projects listed by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, is projected to be completed at over 29 billion dollars and capable of harnessing 4325 megawatts of electricity.
As per the official, yet predictable, tagline, the authorities announced that the dam would benefit the people to avoid public resistance to the project. When completed, the project will benefit five counties in the northeast experiencing power outages during winter, benefit irrigation, develop the region’s economy, promote the environment and the security of the border area, the Chinese government announced.
According to reports published in Chinese government state media in October 2020, a downstream dam will be built on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River). The project is part of the Chinese Central Government’s 14th five-year plan, which runs from 2021 to 2025, and is one of the strategic projects aimed at overall social and economic development until 2035.
According to India Today, the Chinese government has built three dams within a 25 kilometers radius of that area in the last ten years. The Chinese government’s goal in constructing dams in a short period is to control the rivers and divert them away from India and into mainland China.
According to research conducted in 2020, Tibet, the source of major rivers in Asia, provides one-third of China’s overall power output. In the future, the Chinese government intends to build at least 11 hydropower projects along rivers in Tibet. The frequency of floods and landslides has increased dramatically in many parts of Tibet due to the Chinese government’s rampant construction of dams. In 2018, two landslides in the space of a week blocked the Yarlung Tsangpo in Menling County’s Phathdong Degya village, making life extremely hazardous and difficult for people living near the river.