Sawra-Kuddu hydroelectric project, HP, India

Apple orchards and local agriculture damaged because of dust from construction, poor information to local villagers, cracks in the houses and intense blasting at night. Dams construction and sustainability is rarely a happy marriage.


The Sawra-Kuddu project is a Run-of-river scheme on the Pabbar river, a tributary of the Yamuna, in Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh state. The plant is one of the few projects in the Yamuna basin, where the government of Himachal Pradesh has identified a hydel potential of 1044.82 MW (shared between HP and Uttarakhand state). The state company HPPCL has created a Special Purpose Vehicle, namely, Pabbar Valley Power Corporation for execution of these projects on the same river. The Project was scheduled for completion in December 2011 but due to non completion of several construction related work, it is now expected to be operational in July 2017.

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Basic Data
NameSawra-Kuddu hydroelectric project, HP, India
ProvinceHimachal Pradesh
Sitedam site at Hatkoti, Jubbal valley, Shimla 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 CommoditiesElectricity
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe plant will have an installed capacity of 111MW

The gross annual energy generation from the project is estimated at 332,150 MWh. After accounting auxiliary consumption at 1% and transmission losses at 0.53%, the energy available for export to the grid is estimated at 327,068 MWh. The energy available for sale is estimated at 284,549 MWh 1 considering 1% supply of free power for the Local Area Development and 12% supply of free power to the state utility. From HPPCL data, "The project comprises of a piano key weir, an intake structure to draw 78 cumecs discharge through three openings, surface gutter type de-silting arrangement divided into three portions, each 80 m long 19.5 m wide and 10.5 m deep for exclusion of silt particles down to 0.2 mm size, 11.145 km long, 5 m diameter D-shaped Head Race Tunnel, 14 m diameter 82 m high underground restricted orifice type surge shaft, 4 m diameter steel lined pressured shaft, trifurcating in 2.30 m diameter branch shafts, to feed three 37 MW capacity each vertical axis Francis turbines, housed in an 90 m x 14 m x 39 m size underground power house cavity located on the left bank of the Pabbar river near Snail village."

It is proposed to evacuate the power generated inter alia at Sawra Kuddu project by laying a 100 Kms long, 220 KV line with ZEBA conductor up to 220/132 sub station Giri. The transmission line would carry the power generated by other projects also in the valley. The project was accorded the Techno Economic Clearance in November 2004.
Project Area (in hectares)98 ha acquired or diverted (private and forest land)
Level of Investment (in USD)176,000,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population8 Panchayats to be directly affected
Company Names or State EnterprisesHimachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) from India
Andritz Group from Austria - Andritz Hydro supplied electro-mechanical equipment
Patel Engineering from India - HPPCL awarded a contract to Patel Engineering Ltd. of India in 2009 for civil work, gates, and hoisting equipment
Kirloskar Construction Company Limited - Head Race Tunnel Construction
Coastal Projects Limited from India - Head Race Tunnel Construction
International and Financial InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersRanvi Vikas Sabha, Hatkoti, Pabbar Valley

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People
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
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationOfficial complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Noise pollution, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Displacement, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesThere is no organized opposition in the area but some local concerned villagers have come up with alternative plans for local energy generation and provision. They question the big infrastructure industry and are very firm on defending the apple orchards based economy and the precious water sources of the hills. Those who are beginning to personally bear the damages (like cracks in houses as a result of blasting activities) are looking for a legal recourse. For instance, the President of Ranvi Vikas Sabha is in the process of filing a case at the High Court for compensation.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The local ejo's in the beginning did put up a tough fight against the project and opposed it in both official and non official forums, however somewhere the opposition fizzled out due to local political dynamics. Submissions were sent out to HPPCL and ADB- the ADB delegation was especially appraised by Ranvi Vikas Samiti, but their appeals did not lead to any fruition.
Sources and Materials

On the Future Carbon Funds, by ADB
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CDM documentation
[click to view]

HPPCL projects in the state
[click to view]

EIA Report & EMP/Executive Summary
[click to view]

Other Documents

Cracks in the local houses Cracks in the local houses due to tunnelling and blasting
[click to view]

Apple orchards Flourishing apple orchard agriculture in the area, suffering because of the dust produced by blasting and constructions. Photo credit: Daniela Del Bene
[click to view]

Sawra-Kuddu diversion dam site Sawra-Kuddu diversion dam site - Photo credit: Daniela Del Bene
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDaniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB ([email protected])
Last update19/11/2015