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Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams  in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh
 

Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh

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Having 4300 large dams already constructed and many more in pipeline, India is one of world's most prolific dam-builders. Large dams in India are estimated to have submerged about 37500 km2 land area ...

Having 4300 large dams already constructed and many more in pipeline, India is one of world's most prolific dam-builders. Large dams in India are estimated to have submerged about 37500 km2 land area and displaced tens of millions of people. Himachal Pradesh is proceeding towards power-surplus state and there are as many as 401 projects of different magnitude in different stages of installation on 5 river basins of the state i.e. Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Yamuna. State has identified its hydropower generation potential at 23,000 MW. The ecological devastation caused by various projects at lower altitudes of Himachal Pradesh has been alarming; while the prospect of what will happen to the fragile alpine ecosystem is frightening. These projects will change the microclimate that will result in accelerated melting of the snow and glaciers at high altitudes. Like other river basins of the state, hydro-electric power generation in Chamba district was started in 1980s, with 117 mini & micro power projects in different stages of execution at present. Having the special focus on Hul projects the present paper explores the impacts of various dams on environment and local people in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. About 6000 local people are being affected by Hul-I project only. The consequences to nature and wildlife will also prove disastrous. As of now, the wildlife such as deer, bear, goat, tiger and peacock do not enter the fields of farmers. Deforestation and soil erosion are even more devastating. Making the situation even more absurd is that the benefits of these power plants do not go to the community suffering the consequences. Gujjar and Gaddi tribes in the state of Himachal Pradesh have been agitating against 4.5 MW hydropower plant from diverting the entire flow of the Hul stream, on which their lives depend. These communities have for more than two decades protected and preserved the forests from which Hul stream originates. The project’s pipeline is said to destroy about 2000 of slow-growing oak trees. Livelihood and social impacts of poorly planned mini-hydel projects can be thus devastating, as exemplified in this case.

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    Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams  in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh Presentation Transcript

    • National Conference on Geography of Change Environmental and Social Impacts ofHydro-Electric Dams in Chamba District of Himachal PradeshBy: Banjar – 175123 District Kullu Himachal Pradesh (India)Hasrat Arjjumend Tel: 01903-200202, 200201,Senior Fellow 09418133427, 09910188948 Fax: +91-01903-222257 E-mail: info@grassrootsinstitute.in Website: www.grassrootsinstitute.in 1
    • Big Dams of India:Tehri Dam on Bhagirathi River, Tehri in UttarakhandEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Big Dams of India:Bhakra Dam on Sutlej River, Punjab/Himachal PradeshEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Big Dams of India:Idukki Dam on Periyar River, KeralaEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Introduction: In 1947, there were 300 dams In 2000, figure roses to 4000 Today, there are 4300 dams After 1980s, the controversieserupted on issues of large dams Large dams in India areestimated to have submergedabout 37500 km2 land area About 10 million peopledisplaced or affected Adverse impacts of dams havespawned resistance movementsEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Methodology: Study Area: Chamba district, bordered byPathankot, Ladakh (J&K),Lahaul & Bara Banghal, Kangra(HP), and Gurdaspur (Punjab) Average elevation - 1,006 m(3,301 ft) Longitude - 76°12’06” E to76°14’52” E Latitude - 32°44’14” N to32°45’43” N Chamba district lies among 55most backward districts of India Paper based on exploratorystudyEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Methodology: Research Methods: Participant Observation Questionnaire to collect dataand record the perception ofthe affected local people Jadera and SillagrahtPanchyat of Chamba weresampled for interviewing 35respondents from each grampanchayat. Interviews of some keyrespondents belonging toresistance movement Review of several recentpublicationsEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Dams in Himachal Pradesh: Himachal Pradesh - 3 main mountain ranges: 1. Dhauladhar, 2. Pir Panjal, 3. Great Himalayan Hydropower generation potential - 23,000 MW (present 7000 ) 401 projects are in different stages of installation on 5 riverbasins i.e. Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab & Yamuna Rivers and streams are being diverted from one valley intoanother, with serious impacts. E.g. 800 MW Parbati-II Project(Kullu), Kashang projects at 3,000 m (10,000 feet) Projects close to China border  From origin of Satluj river (Lake Rakshastal in China) to Kinnaur district (7 km stretch), water runs from one tunnel to another tunnel (run-of-river projects)Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Dams in Chamba District: NHPC dam was first project in 1980 3 major power projects: Chimera-1, Chimera-2, Chimera-3,Chimera-3 in Ravi basin 117 mini/micro project: MOU for 22 signed; IA for 42 signed Hul-I is micro-hydroelectric project to produce 3.8 MW on HulNala, a tributary of Ravi river in Saal Valley. But actually is of 5MW, which created debates on micro- classification. Contractor: M/s Hul Hydro Power, subsidiary of AsthaProjects (India) Ltd., HyderbadEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Environmental Impacts of Hul-I Project: On 28 km length of Saal River 7 mini & micro hydel projectsare proposed Dams are said to adversely impact the ecology, geology, socio-economics and culture Hul-I will disturb approx. 5 km or ¼th of catchment of stream Oak forest managed byagro-pastoralist Gujjars &Gaddis Livestock based localeconomy of pastoralistswill be affected severely As against official figureof 243, about 2000 trees willbe cut downEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Environmental Impacts of Hul-I Project: Once the construction commences, the resulting disturbancewill influence the wild animals to venture into crop fieldscausing damages Most damaging effect is the diversion of water, impactingseriously the livelihoods of upstream villages People of Saal Valley aredependent on Hul Nala fordrinking water, irrigation,fishery & water mills(gharats) Drinking & irrigationwater schemes serving 10gram panchayats will beaffectedEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Environmental Impacts of Hul-I Project: Discharge of sources of drinking water supply schemes tovillages of Sillagharat, Jadera, Paluhien, Sungal and KailaPanchayats has already been reduced Lift Irrigation and Pipeline Scheme to serve from Silla Khudto Koni-ki-Behi gram panchayats will become redundant With changing climates,water sources are fast dryingup. Saal River is onlyregular water source forvillages of 8 gram panchyatsand Chamba town. Hul-I project can kill Hulstream and put present &future uses of water injeopardy.Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Socio-Economic Impacts of Hul-I Project: 6000 people to be affected by Hul-I 1000 people of Jadera andSillagraht panchyats only Gujjar and Gaddi nomadicpastoralists are main inhabitants Livelihood and social impactswould be devastating 50 families have fishing licence onHul stream; about same numberfish with no license Around 41 water mills will beforced to close down; 1 water millsupports livelihood of 5 families 500 households will pay double forgrinding of flourEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Socio-Economic Impacts of Hul-I Project: Benefits of these power plants will not be going to thecommunity suffering the consequencesPower will be sold toprivate companies anddistributed all over Indiafor an incredible profit Project proponents arepaying a small amount asone time compensation,but which is no answerto sustained regularincome over the yearsEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • People’s Resistance against Hul-I Project: Saal Ghaati Bachao Sangharsh Morcha & Himalaya NitiAbhiyan opposing the Hul-I & II projects since 2003 Opposition is due toadverse impacts onforests, irrigation, locallivelihoods, drinkingwater supply schemesand environment. Jadera Gram Panhcayathas set forth 4resolutions to the CentralGovernment denyingcontinuation of Hul-I &II projects.Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • People’s Resistance against Hul-I Project: Gujjar and Gaddi tribes agitating against Hul-I from divertingthe entire flow of Hul stream on which their lives depend. Series of activitiesdemonstratingpeople’s resistanceand struggle againstthe dam constructionare illustratedchronologically inAnnexure-C of paper[16.11.1996 to04.10.2012].Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Conclusion: Large-scale negative impacts of dams and inequitabledistribution of risks have caused the mobilization and resistanceof affected people in the country especially after 1980 Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of Central Governmentappears not to minimize the environmental & livelihood impactsof even mini & micro hydel projects in fragile mountainecosystems.Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Conclusion: Micro hydel projects do not seem de facto micro because oftheir adverse effects on ecosystems and local inhabitants Despite perpetual resistance of nomadic pastoralists led bySaal Ghati Bachao Sangharsh Morcha and Himalaya NitiAbhiyan the state government is adamant to continue the Hul-IProject in Chamba district.Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Conclusion: People’s rights to water use must be recognized and respectedon priority basis. State should also review Micro-Hydro-Project Policy givingimpetus to the impacts on people’s livelihoods, environment,rangelands, irrigation, drinking water and otherlocal/traditional uses of water.Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
    • Thank you very much We appeal for collaborationsEnvironmental and Social Impacts of Hydro-Electric Dams | By H. Arjjumend | Grassroots Institute
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    • info@grassrootsinstitute.indirector@grassrootsinstitute.in www.grassrootsinstitute.in www.grassroots.org.in 22