Thousands of fish died after a river in Arunachal Pradesh suddenly became black, reported PTI on Saturday. The news agency reported that officials have warned people against consuming fish found floating on the surface of the Kameng river.
Officials in the East Kameng district have pointed to the high content of total dissolved substances (TDS) as the cause for the blackening of the river. According to PTI, district fisheries officials claimed that high TDS caused aquatic species to have breathing problems. Further, the officials noted that fish are also experiencing reduced visibility underwater due to high levels of TDS. District Fisheries Development Officer (DFDO) Hali Tajo said that the TDS in the Kameng river was 6,800 mg per liter, much higher than the normal range of 300-1,200 mg per liter.
In the meantime, residents of Seppa village, where the incident occurred, have blamed China, arguing that the high TDS levels were caused by construction activities being conducted by the neighboring country across the border. Tapuk Taku, the MLA for Seppa East, asked the state government to appoint a committee of experts to determine the cause of the abrupt change in the color of the Kameng river’s water and the death of a large number of fish. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began patrolling in sensitive areas across the contested border in Arunachal Pradesh earlier this week, which India picked up on.
In the data accessed by Hindustan Times, it was shown that the Indian Army detected PLA’s increased operational tempo in Lungro La, Zimithang and Bum La, which have historical significance in the context of Chinese aggression in the eastern sector. To monitor PLA operations, the army used satellites, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles, a superior network of radars, and hi-tech night vision systems. The surveillance revealed increased vehicular movement due to infrastructure development activities and the use of excavators and bulldozers to maintain road axes across the Lungro La, Zimithang, and Bum La sectors, an official told Hindustan Times.
An incident of blackening of the Siang River at Pasighat was reported in 2017. Ninong Ering, a former Congress MP from Arunachal East, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention at that time, explaining that it was due to a 10,000km tunnel in China that diverted water from Siang to Xinjiang province in the Taklamakan desert. The Chinese government denied the allegations.