Last update:
2015-11-19

Seli Hydroelectricity Project, HP, India

Hydropower in one of the most ecologically fragile regions of the Himalayas; conceptualizing a hydropower project in a seismically active, high altitude and an avalanche prone zone is a recipe for disaster


Description:

The 400 MW Seli hydroelectricity project is a Run-of-the-river project proposed on the Chenab River in District Lahaul-Spiti of Himachal Pradesh. Chenab river basin is one among the major five river basins of the state, and also the least exploited in terms of hydropower development. Out of 27,400 MW- the total identified potential of Himachal Pradesh, the Chenab basin holds about 4,032 MW. In the high altitude zone of Lahaul and Spiti, the HP government has allotted 32 hydroelectricity projects- the 400 MW Seli being one of them.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Seli Hydroelectricity Project, HP, India
Country:India
State or province:Himachal Pradesh
Location of conflict:Shulling village, Udaipur town, District Lahaul-Spiti
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Land
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 400 MW Seli hydroelectricity project is a Run-of-the-river project proposed on the Chenab river in Shulling village, District Lahaul-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. The project envisages the construction of 80 m high concrete gravity dam. The catchment area of the project is 6,033 sq. km from the river bed level. The proposed project would have two head race tunnels- of 4.17 km and 4.25 km, respectively. An underground power house is proposed on the right bank of Chenab river near Gugal nallah, close to Kurched village. The other project components include the surge shaft, pen stock, power-house tail race channel, and four units each of 100 MW capacity.

Project area:320
Level of Investment:INR 2891.97 Crores
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:93 families to be directly impacted
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Hindustan Power Projects Private Limited (HPPPCL) from India
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Expert Appraisal Committee, Forest Advisory Committee, Department of Forest, GoHP, District Administration L&S
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Seli Project Sangarsh Samiti, Village Madgran, Lahaul-Spiti
Gramin Yuva Sangathan, Village Madgran, Lahaul- Spiti
Mahila Mandal and Yuva Mandal- Koraki, Salpat, Namu, Ratoli, Charu, Aahat
Jispa Bandh Roko Samiti
Jispa Darcha Jan Sangarsh Samiti
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, 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
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:The local activists and environmental groups continue to maintain "why displacement for development?" stance. Currently, an alternative coming out from groups such as Jispa Darcha Sangarsh Samiti (against 300 MW Jispa) is to develop hydroprojects in areas of the valley where exists no habitation. Another alternative being forwarded is to develop small and micro hydropower projects which are perceived as less socially and ecologically harming.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Locals environment groups claim that the project proponents have been employing strategies to initiate the process of land acquisition. Though the land acquisition process carried out under the land old acquisition was challenged by local ejo's, but it did not result in any substantial action. Much will depend on the Stage II forest clearance which is as of now pending with the state government. However, the local ejo's continue to highlight regular violations mainly of Forest Rights Act and PESA 1996.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Forest Rights Act 2006

Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas Act (PESA) 1996

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

Changing the Colours of Chenab- Narratives on Hydropower 'development' from the Lahaul Valley. of A Report on Hydropower development scenario compiled by Himdhara, Environment Research and Action Collective
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Tribals to bar entry of Seli hydro project officials in Himachal Pradesh
[click to view]

Green activists oppose hydro-power projects in Himachal Pradesh
[click to view]

Report on Chenab release
[click to view]

Forest Minister writes to Centre against Seli power project
[click to view]

37 hydropower projects allotted in Himachal hills
[click to view]

Himachal people oppose plunder and degradation of natural resources
[click to view]

Depleting water sources in Himachal worry locals
[click to view]

Sheli Hydel Project: Villagers to protest forceful land acquisition
[click to view]

Sheli project to be ecological disaster: forest report
[click to view]

Petition to Prime Minister of India: Save 2 Lakh GreenTrees in Lahaul Spiti by Seli Project Sangarsh Samiti
[click to view]

Other documents

A poster from 2012 by Local environment groups calling for a District Bandh on 5th June- the World Environment Day
[click to view]

Photo by Seli Project Sangarsh Samiti, Madgran
[click to view]

Photo by Seli Project Sangarsh Samiti, Madgran
[click to view]

Seli Project Power house site Seli project's power house site on the right bank of Chenab river near Gugal Nallah (stream)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB ([email protected])
Last update19/11/2015
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