Tibetan lake sparks panic in HP

Sutlej river valley in Himachal Pradesh has been put on alert following a sudden rise in the level of the Parechu river.
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Updated on Jul 02, 2005 03:44 PM IST
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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Shimla

Himachal Pradesh officials on Sunday asked people in Kinnaur region living close to a river to vacate their homes after water level rose alarmingly, possibly after artificial lake upstream in Tibet burst.

"This morning we observed a rise of 40-50 feet in a tributary of the Sutlej at Sumdo, 400 kilometre north of here. In all likelihood the Parechu Lake in Tibet has been breached," said Amandeep Garg, the district commissioner of Kinnaur.

"We are taking no chances and have asked people to vacate their homes in places close to the river banks.

"We have alerted authorities downstream. The gates of the 1,500 MW Nathpa hydro project have been opened," Garg said on telephone.

The Nathpa Jhakri hydro project, the country's largest hydro project, has been shut for the last three days due to a rise in the water level and silt content.

In August last year an artificial lake was formed in Tibet's Parechu river, leading to fears of flooding in the state.

The Parechu and lake remain frozen in winter but experts warned the artificial lake could breach its banks in summer with the melting of snow in the high mountains.

In 2000, around 150 people had been killed when the Sutlej flooded its banks.

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