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Maithon Dam and the Damodar River Valley Project, West Bengal, India


Since 1852, Indian government had been concerned with the problem of flood in Bengal. Heavy damage by the floods in pre independence days, made post independent Government of India to plan a detail roadmap to control the flood. After Independence from British Rule, two River commissions and a Central flood control board were set up to implement the flood control mechanism. It included building dams, irrigation canals, forestation and so on [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Maithon Dam and the Damodar River Valley Project, West Bengal, India
State or province:Jharkhand
Location of conflict:Town-Maithon; District- Dhanbad
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
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

irrigation of 270,000 acres of cultivated land

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Level of Investment:15,148,858 (89 Crores) for the Maithon dam
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:3700 families only for the Maithon dam
Start of the conflict:01/01/1956
Company names or state enterprises:Damodar Valley Corporation from India
Relevant government actors:Government of West Bengal
Government of Jharkhand
Government of Bihar
Central Water Corporation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Local Villagers, Local Activists like Swami Agnivesh and Medha Patkar
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil contamination
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:The families displaced by the dam and power generation unit should be given job in the Damodar Valley corporation. They should also be compensated with the similar type of land for cultivation[4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:People of Maithon dam displaced families were started least five-decade ago and still continuing. The families displaced by the DVC power plant had not been given job in the corporation neither were they compensated with land. The agitation is always peaceful and they put their demand to the appropriaties authorities. Recently, their movement is supported by the social activists like Swami Agnivesh and Medha Patkar[4].
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The national rehabilitation and resettlement policy, 2007
[click to view]

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

[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Damodar Valley Project
[click to view]

[1] Flood Control at D V C with Euclids
[click to view]

[2] Regulation of a multipurpose reservoir system: Damodar Valley, India
[click to view]

[4] Agnivesh support to Maithon displaced
[click to view]

[5] Recovering Budhni Mejhan from the silted landscape of modern India
[click to view]

[3] Global Energy Observatory
[click to view]

Price we paid for Nehru’s development model
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Indefinite Dharna by Damodar Valley Projects Adivasis (In Hindi)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update22/05/2014
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