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Jalaput Dam, Orissa, India


The Jalaput Dam is a hydroelectric dam built on the Machkund River, a tributary of the Godavari River in India which rises in the Mudugal hills of Visakhapatnam District and nearby Ondra Gadda it becomes the boundary between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. 

For over 48 km the river runs nearly north along a meandering course through the Padwa Valley. About 48 km south of Jeypore, it winds westward along the edge of the Plateau and then suddenly tums at a short angle to the south-west down a steep descent popularly known as Duduma Falls. 

Jalaput Dam (and Reservoir) impounds 34.273 Tmcft of water for the needs of down stream 120 MW Machkund Hydro-Electric Scheme (MHES), which is in operation since 1955. The dam and the MHES are the joint projects of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states. The existing six power generation units have become old and obsolete compared to latest technology. It is much economical to install a new hydro-electric scheme with a 15 km long tunnel using nearly 400 meters available level drop between Jalaput reservoir and the existing Balimela Reservoir back waters. This reservoir will serve as upper pond and existing Balimela reservoir as tail pond for installing Pumped-storage hydroelectricity units. 

Alleging indifferent attitude of the State Government towards their demands, around 3,000 villagers are displaced due to the Jalaput dam in Koraput district. The villagers staged demonstration in front of the Collector’s office over nine-point charter of demands including adequate compensation, rehabilitation, setting up of a lift irrigation and provision for job, water and electricity. There are no facilities for healthcare, electric supply and road communication either. They threatened to boycott elections and relocate to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh if their demands are not fulfilled before the deadline. Palpable tension prevailed as several people displaced for Machhakund Hydro Electric Project 'gheraoed' the office of the project officer in the district over various demands including compensation. Mostly inhabitants of eight blocks of the district staged protest outside the office of project officer. 

It is pertinent to mention that it is almost 75 years that the displaced people in the area are not yet provided with compensation. The land dispossessed have also submitted a 9-point charter of demands to the concerned officer [1]. Meanwhile, the locals threatened to intensify their protest if their demands are not fulfilled. “If our demands are not fulfilled within one month, we will not release a single drop of water from the Jalaput dam and will lock the Machkund Hydro Power Project office” said President of Machhkund Reservoir Oustees Association. “Their demands include peripheral development, availability of job, water, electricity and transport. "

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Jalaput Dam, Orissa, India
State or province:Odisha/Orissa
Location of conflict:Koraput
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Water

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Jalaput Dam is situated near Ondra Gadda in the district of Visakhapatnam and is placed along the Mudugal hills. Jalaput Dam has a steep fall along it known as the Duduma Falls. The Jalaput Dam has been functioning since the year 2000 and it holds around 34.273 TMC of water under the Machkund Hydro-Electric Scheme (MHES), down stream. Jalaput Dam was constructed on Machkund River to facilitate the nearby located population in terms of electricity and irrigation facilities. This dam is on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. This river was started flowing in rift valley but due to internal geographical disturbance, the route of the river diverted and this river adopted natural flowing towards Bay of Bengal. After 48 kilometers flowing area from Andhra Pradesh this river takes a U turn towards Orissa and creates a natural waterfall called Duduma Falls.

Project area:3,462
Level of Investment:26,034,500
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3,000
Company names or state enterprises:Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation from India
Odisha Hydropower Corporation Limited from India
Relevant government actors:JV of Govt Of Andhra Pradesh and Govt. Of Odisha
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Dalit Sangh

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Demands of affected people include "peripheral development, availability of job, water, electricity and transport."
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:• About half a century back, the residents of Jalaput, a village that now houses more than 2,500 Odia and Telugu speaking people, on the Odisha-Andhra border had given away their ancestral land for the Machhkund hydro-power project in the larger interests of the state.
• They had expected that they would get a slew of government facilities including jobs for their children. However, people of this village under Bilaput panchayat in Nandapur block still lead lives of deprivation in the absence of basic amenities, a report said.
• Even as they live close to the power project, getting electricity supply is still a dream for them, it is alleged. The project authorities have also failed to provide good roads, drinking water, education and sanitation facilities to the residents who lost their land in 1965 for the project.
• Though Jalaput village comes under the peripheral region of the project, the authorities always maintain a step-motherly attitude towards the residents, some villagers lamented.
• While the road leading to the reservoir is in a bad shape, the authorities never take steps for collection of garbage dumped along the road.
• The villagers mostly rely on hospitals of Jeypore, Koraput or Visakhapatnam as a small health centre in the village fails to offer healthcare service in the absence of doctors.
• People have to depend on piped water as a tube well drilled in the village has gone defunct. However, they have to battle for every drop of water as supply gets disrupted due to frequent power outage.
• Though OHPC has appointed a civil division executive engineer to ensure development of the peripheral regions, the engineer and other officials ignore the issues, the villagers alleged.

Sources & Materials

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


Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

No end to sufferings of Machhkund dam oustees.

Jalaput Wikipedia

Jalaput Dam Displaced Protest Government Apathy

Orissa Post - Cracks on Jalaput dam raise fear

Updated: October 25th, 2017

[1] Daily Hunt - Thursday, 27 Dec, 9.53 am

Odisha TV

Jalaput dam displaced protest government apathy

Meta information

Contributor:Tapan Kumar Jena, Mail [email protected],Mob No-+91-9309549932
Last update24/03/2019



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