Rihand Dam, UP, India


Rihand Dam is the largest multi-purpose project of Uttar Pradesh (UP), India. The dam was constructed on the river Rihand (Tributary of the Son River) near village Pipri in Sonbhadra district of UP [1]. In 1964, while inaugurating the Rihand Dam in Singrauli, the First Prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru promised to turn the region into the Switzerland of India [2] The concrete dam is 934 m long and 91 m high. The water is stored in Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar reservoir which spreads over an area of 130 sq. km. (466 sq. km when full) and collects 10,608 m cu m of water. Water from Rihand enter into the reservoir. The Rihand project has been completed in 1966 with total cost of 375 million rupees [1].

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Basic Data
NameRihand Dam, UP, India
ProvinceUttar Pradesh
SiteVillage - Pipri District - Sonbhadra
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Coal extraction and processing
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Aquaculture and fisheries
Water access rights and entitlements
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesCoal
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsRihand dam is a concrete gravity dam of length 934.21 m situated in Pipri in District Sonebhadra of U.P (India). The maximum height of the dam is 91.44 m and was constructed during period 1954-62.The dam comprises of 61 independent blocks and ground joints. The powerhouse is situated at the toe of the dam, with installed capacity of 6 units of 50 M.W. each [4]. The water stored in Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar reservoir spreads over an area of 130 sq. km. (466 sq. km when full) and collects 10,608 m cu m of water. To let down the floods of the Rihand entering the reservoir, the dam is provided with a spill-way of 190 m. Power House-Downstream of the dam on the right side of spill-way has a power house with installed capacity of 300 mw (6 units of 50 mw each). The power is transmitted through 829 km of 132 km transmission line and 383 km of 66 km transmission line.

This power is utilised in cement (at Churk, Dala, Khajuraho), chemical (at Shahpuri), tyre and tube (Naini), fertilisers (at Allahabad and Gorakhpur), aluminium (at Mirzapur), caustic soda, chlorine, porcelain, paper and board, plastic and electrical industries. It is also utilised in running electric trains and energizing tubewells in eastern and central Uttar Pradesh.

Irrigation-the water collected in the Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar reservoir is diverted to the Son canal which irrigates about 2.5 lakh hectares of the agricultural land in Champaran, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur districts of Bihar [1].

Project Area (in hectares)46,600
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population200,000
Start Date1966
Relevant government actorsGovernment of India, Government of Uttar Pradesh
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersThe Energy and Resources Institute, Greenpeace India
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
International ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Rihand dam is basically is opening up avenues for coal based power plants and coal mining. If it operational with all its power plants completed, the area expected to be the the worlds largest green house gas emission on the earth. Moreover three lakhs displaced people are either forcibly resettled or displaced. Chain of displacements are in many folds.

1. The quality of environmental health of Rihand dam with its surrounding is continuously degrading very fast.

2. The environmental restoration in an around the Rihand dam is exactly improper. The parameters sets for environmental restoration have not been covered by the pollution creating agencies. The environmental restoration its objective policies is not having proper implementation. Similarly the environmental restoration have not taken the proper activation. Thus the environmental restoration catchment and command area in Rihand dam is bad condition.

3. Thus, the environmental health of Rihand dam is facing very serious conditions due to improper environmental restoration [5]

Sources and Materials

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National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007


The displaced people of Rihand Dam and their state of rehabilitation - See more at:
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Induced Displacement in India.pdf
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[5] [5] Environmental Restoration around the Rihand Dam
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Indian Environmental Portal
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Interface between Displacement, Rehabilitation and Governance in India: A Critique
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Rihand Power Station, Pipri, District : Sonebhadra (UP)
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Development Induced Displacement in India


[2] Rehabilitating the displaced
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[3] Singrauli : The coal Curse

[1] Complete Information on Rihand Dam Project
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Media Links

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Meta Information
ContributorSohan Prasad Sha & Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update24/06/2014