Kamang river turns black: Panic prevailed among locals and authorities after Arunachal Pradesh's Kameng river recently turned mysteriously black and thousands of fish were found floating dead. The East Kameng district administration has prohibited people have from venturing into the river and also using the water even as efforts continue to clean the river water.
East Kameng District Deputy Commissioner Pravimal Abhishek Polumatla said that organisations from Bengaluru and Kolkata and experts teams from the Central Water Commission accompanied by local bodies and villagers are jointly working on a war footing to clean the water.
Why did the river water turn black
According to initial findings, Kameng river's water turned black due to the high content of total dissolved substances (TDS). High TDS level has led to the depletion of oxygen in the water that may have resulted in the death of thousands of fish in the river.
An aerial survey of the river conducted last week by the authorities revealed that intense erosion on the banks of the river that originates in East Kamang district which shares border with China. Kameng river is a major tributary of Brahmaputra, however, with the river water turning muddy it has become unsuitable for human use.
"During the aerial survey it was observed that in the Warriyang Bung river there was intense erosion of river banks resulting in deposition of mud, debris, boulders and trees. This could be possibly due to a landslide or avalanche in the upper reaches of the Warriyang Bung river which could not be observed due to the presence of thick clouds," East Kameng District Deputy Commissioner Pravimal Abhishek Polumatla told reporters.
What is being done to address the issue
Taking note of the serious issues, Union law and justice minister Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, recently held a review meeting with officers of Jal Shakti Ministry and Central Water Commission. Rijiju directed the concerned authorities to fully coordinate to take necessary steps as soon as possbile.
"Took a review meeting with officers of Jal Shakti Ministry and Central Water Commission on the issue of blackish water & dying fishes in Kameng river in Arunachal Pradesh and found the cause. Asked the officials for proper coordination between State Govt & all concerned agencies," Rijiju said in a tweet.
Is there any China link?
Residents of Seppa blamed China for the rise in the TDS in the river, alleging that the colour of the water turned black due to construction activities by the neighbouring country.
Seppa East MLA Tapuk Taku appealed to the state government to immediately constitute a committee of experts to ascertain the cause behind the abrupt change in the colour of the Kameng river’s water and the death of a large quantity of fish.
Not for the first time
The Siang river at Pasighat in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh had turned black in November 2017.
The then Congress MP from Arunachal East Ninong Ering wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention, claiming that it was the result of the construction of a 10,000-km-long tunnel in China, which diverted water from Siang to Xinjiang province in the Taklamakan desert. China had then denied the allegation.
(With inputs from agencies)