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Mangla Dam in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan

Conceived as a multipurpose project in the 1950s, it was completed in 1967. Since then, the project has been upgraded several times but more than 100,000 people remain displaced and their critical voices suppressed with force and violence


The Mangla dam project was conceived as a multipurpose project in the 1950s, and its initial investment and feasibility studies were concluded in 1958 (1). It was the first dam to be built as a part of the Indus Basin Project as per the Indus water treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960. This treaty was signed under the aegis of the World Bank and assigned the three Eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) to India and three Western rivers (Indus, Jhelum & Chenab) to Pakistan (2). The site of the dam is located in the Mirpur district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), also known as Azad Kashmir, which is a supposedly self-governing administrative division of Pakistan, and has been a constant source of territorial conflict over India and Pakistan.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mangla Dam in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan
State or province:Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or Azad Kashmir
Location of conflict:Mirpur
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The construction of Mangla dam was started in March 1963 and completed in June, 1967. It cost $ 434.505 million and was funded by the mostly by the World Bank with some funding from the Asian Development Bank. It consisted of four embankment dams, two spillways, five power cum irrigation tunnels and a power station with an installed generation capacity of 3360 MW. The main dam was 10,300 feet long and 380 feet high above the riverbed with a reservoir of 97.7 square miles. In 1974, its generation capacity was increased by commissioning two more units each of 100 MW. In 1981, the power generation capacity was further enhanced by installing two additional units, each of 100 MW, which was followed by the construction of two more units in the year 1993-1994 each of 100 MW. The cumulative production from all the ten operating units is 1000 MW.

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Project area:25,000-30,000
Level of Investment:434,505,000 (initial investment)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:150,000-200,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/1963
Company names or state enterprises:Mangla dam contractors from Pakistan - Constructed the dam in 1967
Binnie and Partners from United Kingdom - Project design and supervision for the dam
Relevant government actors:Water and Power Development Authority (, central government of Pakistan, government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Mirpur Citizens Action Committee, MDRP (Mangla Dam Raising Project) Action Committee of Affected, JKNAP, Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation (JKNSF), Anti-Dam Extension Committee and All Parties National Alliance (APNA).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The people of Mirpur have been displayed twice for this dam, with many families still without land or house. Neither adequate compensation nor proper rehabilitation has been provided.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Ballard, R., 1991. Kashmir crisis: view from Mirpur. Economic and political weekly, pp.513-517

Shekhawat, S., 2009. The Paradox of Irrigation Benefits and Lost Livelihoods: The Mangla Dam. In Beyond Relocation: The Imperative of Sustainable Resettlement, p.354.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

16. Article about government promises to speed up the rehabilitation process.
[click to view]

11. Article about the arrest of protesters.
[click to view]

4. Newspaper article about the current situation of Mangla dam
[click to view]

10. Article about protest over frequent electricity shortages.
[click to view]

9. More protest in Mirpur.
[click to view]

12. Article about protesters demanding their long delayed rightful compensation
[click to view]

1. History of Mangla dam. WAPDA website
[click to view]

15. Press release about funding from the USA for Mangla dam in 2014.
[click to view]

13. Article about more mobilization of people for protesting
[click to view]

14. Information about new US funding for renovation of Mangla dam in 2012.
[click to view]

5. History of the protest during the MDRP.
[click to view]

6. Information about human rights violation during the September 2002 protest, where 13 people were arrested and many injured.
[click to view]

2. History of the Mangla dam raising project. Wikipedia entry.
[click to view]

7. Information about the mass migration of people from Mirpur to UK
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

History of the Mangla dam project
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update16/03/2017
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