Proliferation of hydropower development in the Himalayas is leading to extensive land use changes in the river valleys and threatening the diverse and fragile Himalayan ecosystems leading to deforestation, fragmentation, soil erosion and loss of forest biodiversity. These are a cause for serious concern for local communities, whose lives and livelihoods depend on these forests.
Hydropower development has been given topmost priority in the resource rich state of Himachal Pradesh.
What are the laws governing acquisition? What is the social impact of a development-at-all-costs policy? Can those who owned and lived off the land have a stake in its development?
In the name of clean energy – A report on Asian Development Bank financed hydropower projects in Himachal PradeshPosted on 25 May, 2011 07:06 PM
This report by Him Dhara, an environmental research and action collective, deals with the Asian Development Bank financed hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh, which are leading to obstruction of the rivers and their consequent disappearance for harnessing energy and making ‘judicious’ use of the water. Within the hydro sector the attention has turned to the Indian Himalayan region which is estimated to have seventy nine per cent of the total hydropower potential of the country.
The technology of ‘run of the river’ (ROR) used to tap “the flow of rivers” in high gradient zones to generate power has given impetus to setting up of hydro-projects in the Himalayan states. In India, the mountainous region of the Himalayas offered the “perfect setting” for such projects, with the availability of several flowing water sources that could be tapped before they reached the plains. Of the Himalayan states, after Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh is second in line with a hydropower potential of about 21000 MW. The installed capacity has increased twenty fold (from 326 MW to 6370 MW) in the last ten years indicating the frenzied pace of hydropower development in the state.