Gumti Hydroelectric Project, Tripura, India


Description
Gumti Hydroelectric Power Project is located at Thirthmukh, Tripura, India [1]. The Gumti hydel project was commissioned in 1974, despite fierce protests by nearly 40,000 indigenous tribes people whose fertile lands went under water. Not even one-fifth of the people who were forced to give up their land were compensated because most tribesmen had no land records to prove ownership [3]. Also, during 1970’s rehabilitation policy was not in place, nor land records by the original land holders available. As a result many land less youths become insurgents and perhaps the problems of militancy of Tripura has gained ground.
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Basic Data
NameGumti Hydroelectric Project, Tripura, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceTripura
SiteThirthmukh
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
Land acquisition conflicts
Deforestation
Specific CommoditiesLand
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsGumti Hydroelectric Power (GHP) Project is operated by Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited. The Project has three units with a design capacity of 15 MW. The project’s first unit was commissioned in 1976 and the last in 1984 [1]. Hydro-electric power plant and is used to store water for running the turbines to produce electric power. At GHP it is of natural type and total catchment area of reservoir is about 45 sq. km. The length of the Dam is 103 meter and height is 30 meters[4,5]
Project Area (in hectares)4,634
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population40,000
Start Date1974
Company Names or State EnterprisesTripura State Electricity Corporation Limited from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Tripura
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLocal Tribal People, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (political party, INPT)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationLand occupation
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherTribal who lost their lands due to the project become landless and unemployed. It has fulled violent insurgency with young men and women from landless families joining the state's two major rebel groups [3].
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Negotiated alternative solution
Project cancelled
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Fostering a culture of peace
Under negotiation
Land demarcation
Development of AlternativesThe tribal people, allege that the state government did not do anything for their uplift in terms of infrastructure and basic facilities [2]. They demand to scrap the Gumti dam because it is no longer generating electricity. Instead of revival of dam they want dam lands to be redistributed amongst Tripura's landless tribal population so that they can earn their livelihood form that land [3]
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Very few people were compensated in 1970’s because most tribesmen had no land records to prove their ownership at that time. It was an injustice to the indigenous people of Tripura. The tribal are marginalized (now their number is less than 30 percent) in their own land by the perpetual inflow of Bengali settlers from Bangladesh [3].

Tribal people who had lost their lands due to the hydro-project settled in the upper areas of the project. The land less people there did heavy primitive agricultural practice (Joom Cultivation) and deforestation. Beside this due to illegal tree cutting and timber smuggling on the upper ridge areas, rainfall pattern was severely affected. This leads to heavy silting and ultimately dying of Gumti reservoir [3]

State government will not allow people to settle down on the lands emerging from the reservoir. According to the state power minister, government will not allow anybody to settle on the land and will revive the project. In the process government has set up an expert committee to look into the condition of the reservoir [2]
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Forest Rights Act 2006
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Links

[1] Gumti Hydroelectric Power Project
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[2] Tripura tribals want Gumti Hydro-Electric Project scrapped
[click to view]

[3] Land reclaim dispute over drying dam
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[4] Gumti Hydro Dam D01449
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[5] Gumti Hydel Power Project
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Other Documents

The land emerged after a drop in the reservoir's water level Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6509771.stm
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/02/2015
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