Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Project, HP, India

(Over)work against the clock to complete the project and unsustainable labour conditions; workers raise their voice along with local inhabitants and prove connection between landslides, rockfalls and slope destabilisation with hydropower development


The Nathpa Jhakri Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Satluj River in Himachal Pradesh, India. A Memorandum of Understanding for execution of the Nathpa-Jhakri project was signed between Government of India and Government of Himachal Pradesh in July, 1991. Construction on the project began in 1993; the original plan called for a five-year construction period, but a rockslide shortly after the civil contract was signed in 1993 required extensive stabilisation work, and the project had to be redesigned. The project was finally commissioned in May 2004 and officially dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 28, 2005.

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Basic Data
NameNathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Project, HP, India
ProvinceHimachal Pradesh
SiteNathpa village, Kinnaur district
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
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsNathpa Jhakri HEP has an installed capacity of 1530MW. In July 2014, according to the company SJVN, it generated an all-time record of power by producing 1,191.217 million units against the target of 1,083 million units [4].

From the dam to the power house, water is diverted to a 27.4 km (17 mi) headrace tunnel.

A large number of companies worked on the project. Kvaerner Energy of Norway provided the six 255MW Francis turbines and Kvaerner Boving of the UK the gates and valves, while the Eucona consortium of ABB, Kvaerner, Siemens, and Sulzer Escher Wyss won a US$200M main equipment contract. Canada’s Foundation Corporation and Impregilo of Italy carried out the construction work, while Indian firms Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) also won contracts on the scheme.
Level of Investment (in USD)2,048,200,000 (according to WB) [1]
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1999
Company Names or State EnterprisesABB Kraftwerk from Switzerland - Supplier of the rotary components of the generators and the cabling and safety systems.
Siemens from Germany
Continental Construction Corp Ltd from India
Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN) from India
Foundation Corporation of Canada from Canada - Construction work with Impregilo
Alstom from France - GEC Alsthom's Power Transmission and Distribution Division (T&D) won the order worth $55 million to supply and install India's largest gas insulated substation at Nathpa Jhakri.
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) from India
Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd (HCC) from India
Salini Impregilo from Italy - Construction work with Foundation Corporation of Canada
Relevant government actorsCentral Water Commission (CWC), Central Electrical Authority (CEA)
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Bank For Reconstruction And Development (IBRD)
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America - Project ID: P009869, WB loan of US$ 485 MILLION
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersHim Lok Jagriti Manch, Himdhara,
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Informal workers
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Do you consider this as a success?No
Sources and Materials

Impact of Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power Project on the Environment and Livelihood in Kinnaur and Shimla Districts of Himachal Pradesh

Sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi. Written by Anup Katoch (Project Director), Jagtar Guleria (Associate Project Director), Ashok Kumar (Associate Project Director) -CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya

[click to view]

Impact of Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power Project on the Environment and Livelihood in Kinnaur and Shimla Districts of Himachal Pradesh

Sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi.

CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya


Plant at Salini-Impregilo technical page
[click to view]

Power-Tehnology - technical details on construction works and contractors involved
[click to view]

SJVN webpage on the project
[click to view]

Global Energy Observatory
[click to view]

[1] World Bank project page
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Info-change - De-glaciation, design flaws affect Nathpa Jhakri Hydel Project
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The Hill Post - SJVN’s 1500 MW Jhakri plant logs highest monthly generation
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[2] Himdhara's Press Note 15th June 2015: Kinnaur residents rise-up! Demand immediate action on pathetic condition of NH-5
[click to view]

[3] Tribune News Service, On workers agitation
[click to view]

[4] POST - Record generation by Himachal power plant
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Water Power and Dam Construction - A boost for hydro
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Media Links

Presentation by Renuka Thapliyal and Manoj Jreat

and pictures from the valley
[click to view]

Other Documents

View on Nathpa-Jhakri HEP Source:
[click to view]

Map of Satluj river projects Source:,%20India.pdf
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDaniela Del Bene, ICTA - UAB (
Last update19/11/2015