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
NameMaithon Dam and the Damodar River Valley Project, West Bengal, India
SiteTown-Maithon; District- Dhanbad
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project Detailsirrigation of 270,000 acres of cultivated land

hydroelectric generation 164,000,000 KWH [1].

The dam has three hydroelectricity generation units with a design capacity of 60 MW.
Level of Investment (in USD)15,148,858 (89 Crores) for the Maithon dam
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population3700 families only for the Maithon dam
Start Date01/01/1956
Company Names or State EnterprisesDamodar Valley Corporation from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of West Bengal

Government of Jharkhand

Government of Bihar

Central Water Corporation
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLocal Villagers, Local Activists like Swami Agnivesh and Medha Patkar
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
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-economic ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesThe 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 as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

The national rehabilitation and resettlement policy, 2007
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[1] Flood Control at D V C with Euclids
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[2] Regulation of a multipurpose reservoir system: Damodar Valley, India
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[4] Agnivesh support to Maithon displaced
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[5] Recovering Budhni Mejhan from the silted landscape of modern India
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[3] Global Energy Observatory
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Price we paid for Nehru’s development model
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Damodar Valley Project
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Media Links

Indefinite Dharna by Damodar Valley Projects Adivasis (In Hindi)
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Other Documents

Map of the DVP Source:
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View of the Maithon dam Source: Wikipedia
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Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update22/05/2014