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Kishanganga Hydro Electric Power Project (KHEP), India


The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River (which is called Neelum River in Pakistan) to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin. It will have an installed capacity of 330 MW; its construction on the project began in 2007 and is expected to be complete in 2016. In the meanwhile, Pakistan had also started constructing the Neelum Jhelum project on the Neelum River, located in "Pakistan Occupied Kashmir", with a capacity of 969 MW. Both projects follow similar principle of design and operation i.e. to divert a portion of the water to the power station before it is discharged back into the river.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kishanganga Hydro Electric Power Project (KHEP), India
State or province:Jammu & Kashmir
Location of conflict:Bandipora
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific commodities:Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Since 2009, the hydro-electric project is being constructed by India with a planned capacity of 330 MW by diverting the waters of the Kishanganga/Neelum river through a 23-km-long tunnel. Being executed at a cost of Rs. 3,642 crore, the project is expected to be completed by 2016 [4]. The project project involves construction of a 37 metre tall concrete dam, comprises 3 units of 110 megawatts (MW) each.

Level of Investment:592,000,000: Rs.3,642.04 crore
Type of populationUnknown
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:National Hydroelectric Power Corporation of India (NHPC) from India
Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd (HCC) from India
Halcrow Group from United Kingdom
Seli SpA
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) from India
DSD Noell
Relevant government actors:Government of India, Government of Pakistan
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Court of Arbitration at The Hague
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:SANDRP
Conflict & Mobilization
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women
Other socio-economic impactsAccording to Tehelka (see Links), "In addition to the various problems associated with the project, the HCC has been accused of discriminating against Kashmiri engineers and employees. The HCC authorities, locals alleged, are forcing families in the affected villages to vacate their houses and land even before providing them with compensation."
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:In the early '90s, India had informed Pakistan of its intentions to construct the Kishanganga hydroelectric project. Since then, Pakistan has been raising objections to the project. The main objections are that inter-tributary diversions are barred as per the Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan fears that the project would deprive Pakistan of the river's natural flows. Pakistan is afraid of hydrological and geological disturbance in Neelum valley. Pakistan has also raised objections relating to certain design features, especially the draw-down technology to flush sediments [4]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Permanent Court of Arbitration, on December 20, 2013, issued a judgment, on the construction of Kishanganga Hydro-electric Project (KHEP) by India.
The judgment restructures and modernizes the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India and Pakistan. It is an effective instrument in avoiding conflicts on use of the rivers of the Indus Basin.
However, the ruling do not question the project per se and leaves up to the parties to determine the compensation and rehabilitation issues.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Indus Water Treaty 1960
[click to view]


[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Giacomini, L., Bartimoccia, F. , Rodriguez Calderon, D. Kishanganga hydroelectric project (J&K India) head race tunnel tunneling by Tbm under Himalaya mountains dealing with adverse conditions in World Tunnel Congress 2013 Geneva Underground – the way to the future! G. Anagnostou & H. Ehrbar (eds)
[click to view]

Sinha, UK (2008) India and Pakistan: Introspecting the Indus Treaty Strategic Analysis, Volume 32, Issue 6, 2008
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Kishanganga Project Dispute: Some Highlights
[click to view]

[3] India to start Kishanganga project construction
[click to view]

[4] Impact of verdict on Kishanganga project
[click to view]

[2] India wins Kishanganga case at The Hague court
[click to view]

[click to view]

Tehelka, "Kishanganga hydel power project threatens an ancient culture"
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

India wins over Pak in Kishanganga Project! (in Hindi)
[click to view]

Hague court upholds India's right on Kishanganga project (in Hindi)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update03/05/2014
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