Locals Oppose Jispa Dam Project in Lahaul and Spiti Valley

Reported by

Bimla Vishwapremi

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016

Updated on

September 26, 2016

Location of Conflict

Jispa

Lahaul and Spiti

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Hydroelectric Project

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

960

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1323

ha

Starting Year

2009

State

Himachal Pradesh

Sector

Power

Since 2009, the residents of the fourteen villages in the tribal district of LahaulSpiti valley, Himachal Pradesh, have been opposing the proposed Jispa Dam and Hydropower Project.   The proposed 300 MW dam, located on the Bhanga river, would hold 0.8 millionacre feet of water to feed 11 major power projects downstream in the Chenab river basin. In 2008, the dam was allocated to the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL), after it was declared a National Water Resource project.  As per the prefeasibility report, the dam would result in the submergence of at least four villages and displace 74 families. However, according to a preliminary report by Him Dhara Collective, the project would result in complete or partial submergence of 12 villages, Darcha 1 and 2, Sumdu, Limkyum, Rarik, Gandaj, Balijim, Yoche, Chikka, Dogma, Nama, Ranglyo and Makseen. Also, it would displace more than 250 families and submerge 40 shops. The report also states that the construction of an 18kilometre long canal would dry the natural water resources. Consequently, it will harm the availability of drinking and irrigation water in at least ten villages.  The locals have collected under the banner of Jispa Bandh Jan Sangharsh Samiti. They stand opposed to the project due to the threat of displacement and severe impact on livelihood practices, agricultural lands, and water sources. The concerns also stem from the ecological fragility of the region. In January 2014, a local delegation met with the Chief Minister to discuss the situation. It also met with the then Tribal Minister and Power department in March of the same year.  As per a news report, the Samiti submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, and the National Green Tribunal in October 2015. Earlier, the protestors had stopped the team from working at the site. However, the Managing Director of HPPCL, claimed the tribals fear was baseless as the project will positively impact the local ecology.  In September 2016, following protests by the tribal communities, HPPCL suspended the project survey work. The corporation stated that it would begin to restart the investigation when the locals will extend their support. In July 2017, HPPCL held a public meeting with the residents of Jaspa village to request cooperation for investigation and survey for the project. They reemphasized the national importance of the project. However, Regzin Hyrpa, convenor of the Samiti, stated that the villagers reject the project due to the threat of environmental damage similar to the Kinnaur hydro projects. Since the locals have continued to oppose the project. They have not allowed any investigation or survey work either. However, the project is yet not withdrawn.  In February 2020, a newspaper article reported that the corporation plans to do investigation and survey work again after concluding talks with the centre. As per the report, an HPPCL official stated that the process will start again to select a new location for the project, to which the locals will have no objection.  In January 2021, the president of the Samiti reasserted the locals' opposition to the hydropower projects proposed in the valley. He stated that the projects will prove to be disastrous for the ecology and biodiversity of the region. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project

Opposition against environmental degradation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to dispose off the project

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

5000

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Schedule I, Item 1(c): This is a river valley project that is a category A project requiring mandatory environmental clearance
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(1)(a): Right of traditional forest dwellers to live on and hold forest land
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 6: Declaration that the land being acquired is required for a public purpose
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Violation of environmental laws

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Objections as part of official procedures

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited, Ministry of Environment and Forest

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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