Locals Oppose Luhri Stage II Hydro Project in Himachal, Reject SIA Report

Location of Conflict

Nanj Village

Firnu, and Kot villages in Mandi district; Bargal, Chamod, Mahawali, and Talah villages in Shimla district; and Dinghidhar village in Kullu district

Mandi

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Hydroelectric Project

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1598

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

174

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Himachal Pradesh

Sector

Power

In 2010, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited had proposed to construct a 755Megawatt Luhri HydroElectric Project (HEP) on the Sutlej River, with a 38 kilometrelong twin tunnel. The project would have affected Shimla, Mandi and Kullu districts. The residents collectively raised objections against the potential impacts of the project on the riverine system, ecology of the region, and people's livelihoods. Subsequently, the projects capacity was reduced to 612 MW in 2013. However, in 2014, the World Bank withdrew its funding for the project, following a report by a team from United States Agency for International Development, who had carried out a site inspection in November 2013. In 2015, the Himachal Pradesh government revised the Luhri HEP to propose a multistage project instead. Under it, the state government commissioned three dams in the same stretch, Luhri Stage I (210 MW), Luhri Stage II (172 MW) and Sunni (382 MW). In 2017, the projects were reallocated to SJVN Ltd. on a Stand Alone Basis and an MoU signed in 2019. The Luhri HEP Stage II project, located near Nanj village in Mandi district, requires 174.35 ha of land totally and expected to generate 632 MU of electricity. According to the final Social Impact Assessment report, it is estimated that 333 families will be affected in eight villages across Shimla, Kullu, and Mandi, and 119.79 hectares of land will be submerged. In December 2019, during the public hearing, families in Nanj rejected the draft SIA report released earlier that year. They stated that they were not given sufficient information about the project before the hearing. The villagers also added that the SIA report is halfbaked and understated their dependence on agriculture in the area. They demanded a fresh public hearing. The survey work undertaken in October 2019 for the SIA report caused landslides, they stated.  Meanwhile, the communities are still waiting to get titles under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 for around 150 hectares of forest land to be used for the project. The SDM accepted the shortcomings in the SIA report and assured the affected families that the state government would not accept the report until their concerns were addressed. He also stated that there will be no forceful acquisition of land.  The villagers in Karsog also submitted a list of demands to the subdivisional magistrate. The final SIA report published in January 2020, mentions estimates for the compensation for the land to be acquired and trees felled. However, it still doesn't account for many of the concerns voiced by the villagers and the local administration. In November 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the budget for the project. Locals however are still protesting against the project.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1882.9

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

12 april 2020

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

  1. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

    Section 4: Preparation of the Social Impact Assessment, which must contain impact on families being displaced; Section 5: Conducting a public consultation regarding the Social Impact Assessment

  2. Himachal Pradesh Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Compensation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement and Development Plan) Rules, 2016.

    Section 3: A request for acquisition of land can only be made after the Social Impact Assessment is complete; Section 7: The resettlement and rehabilitation scheme needs to take into account the Social Impact Assessment

  3. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

    Section 3(a): Right to live on and hold forest land; Section 4(1): Vesting of forest rights with traditional forest dwellers

  4. Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006

    Schedule I, Item 1(c): All three dams would be category A projects requiring mandatory environmental clearance

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:

Violation of LARR Act, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Violation of environmental laws, Controversial land acquisition by the government , Lack of legal protection over land rights

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

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media), Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Sub-divisional Magistrate, Karsog

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL)

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Abnaki Infrastructure Applications and Integrated Development Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective

Reviewed By

Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective

Updated By

Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective

Edited By

Himdhara Environment Research and Action CollectiveLand Conflict Watch
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