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China promises ‘all help’ on Parechu crisis
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
History seems to be repeating itself within one year as China has promised “all help” on the crisis posed in Himachal Pradesh by floods in the Parechu river but no information has trickled in yet from Beijing.

A good news from the Chinese side that was conveyed to the Government of India today was that they would be sending a technical team from Lhasa to the landslide dam site by tomorrow for collecting real-time data. The team would take at least one week, if not more, to reach the site as the team members would have to trek snow-bound, inhospitable area where no road network exists.

However, India appears to have learnt a lesson from last year’s experience in dealing with China as unlike last time, New Delhi has so far not requested Beijing for permission to allow an Indian technical team in Tibet for an on-the-spot assessment of the problem.

Instead, New Delhi is depending to a large extent on satellite imagery and different agencies of the Centre and the Himachal Pradesh Government are in regular contact with one another and maintaining a round-the-clock vigil.

On Sunday at 9.30 am, as soon as the Parechu floods broke embankments, the Ministry of External Affairs contacted the Chinese Ambassador, Mr Sun Yuxi, here. New Delhi sought update, on a war footing, on the water flow and the water level on the source of the Parechu in Tibet and also the exact position of landslides that, like last year, resulted in formation of an artificial lake in the Chinese territory. The polished envoy promised all help and said he would try to furnish these data in a day or two.

Till this evening nothing consequential came from Beijing. China has maintained that its hands are tied because of persistent bad weather at the landslide site. Beijing said the landslide site was a remote and inaccessible area, which was still getting heavy snowfall. Because of the inclement weather, the Chinese technical team could not be sent so far.

Worse, Beijing said, the monitoring stations it had built last year on Indian request on the landslide dam in Tibet, had been rendered dysfunctional. The monitoring stations, both upstream and downstream, have been snowed under, literally.

The UPA government is of the view that it has acted swiftly on the Parechu river floods and a testimony to it was the fact that not a single life had been lost because of the flash floods. This is despite the fact that more than five thousand workers are working on the Kol dam and the entire workforce was evacuated well in time.

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