Integrated Kashang Hydroelectricity Project, HP, India

ADB funded project under clean energy programs are often not so green. Local people highlight heavy impacts on the environment, aggravated by multiple infrastructure and underestimated by poor environmental impact assessments


Description

The 243 MW Integrated Kashang Hydroelectricity Project is proposed on the Kashang and Kerang streams- the right bank tributaries of Satluj River in Morang Tehsil of District Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. District Kinnaur is a Schedule V area under the Indian Constitution (with high percentage of tribal population). The origin of Integrated Kashang goes back to 2002 when a 65 MW hydroelectricity project was conceptualised under Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB). However, later 3 more projects were integrated with the initial design (65 MW Kashang) to develop a 1800 crore project to be executed by the state owned Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL). The four stages of the project are: i. Stage I- comprising of diversion of the Kashang stream, at El. 2829 m, to an underground powerhouse located on the right bank of Sutlej near Powari village, developing a head of approximately 830 m.

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Basic Data
NameIntegrated Kashang Hydroelectricity Project, HP, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceKinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
SiteMorang Tehsil
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
Water access rights and entitlements
Land acquisition conflicts
REDD/CDM
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Water
Land
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsBoth Kashang and Kerang streams will be diverted into tunnels much before its confluence with the Satluj river. For Stage I, the Kashang stream which is 18 kms in length will be diverted around 8 kms before its confluence with the Satluj, whereas for Stage II and III (130 MW in total), the 45 km long Kerang stream will be diverted at around 15.3 kms. The Head Race tunnel (HRT) for Stage II and III will be 6.3 kms long with its diversion point at Lappo village. This entire stretch throughout the tunnel's length is inhabited by 8 villages-namely Pangi, Rarang, Khadra, Jungi Lippa, Aren, Tokhtu and Asrang. It will then be linked to upstream end of Stage-I on top of Pangi village and a combined power house of 195 MW will be constructed on the right bank of Satluj opposite Purbani village. Stage-IV (48 MW) , is more or less an independent project in which, Kerang stream will be diverted from Tokhtu village and power house with an installed capacity of 48 MW will be constructed just before, from where water will be diverted for the Kashang-Kerang link tunnel. [1]

The project will provide electricity to Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) which is part of NEWNE (Northern, Eastern, Western, North- Eastern) grid of India. The project area falls in high alpine zone and in Seismic zone IV and at altitude ranging from 2000 to 3150 meters above sea level.
Project Area (in hectares)85.7356
Level of Investment (in USD)INR 1800 Crore (approximately 285,000,000)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population400 families
Company Names or State EnterprisesHindustan Construction Co. Ltd (HCC) from India
Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) from India
Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Limited (HPSEB) from India
Himalayan Forest Research Institute, Shimla (HFRI) from India - Preparation of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Himachal Pradesh, Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), Himachal Pradesh High Court, National Green Tribunal, Environment Appraisal Committee of MoEFCC, Department of Forests (GoHP)
International and Financial InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB) - ADB is funding the project under Himachal Pradesh Clean Energy Development Investment Program
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/CDM (UNFCC)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersHim Lok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur

Paryavaran Sanrakshan Sangarsh Samiti, Kinnaur

Himdhara Environment Group and Action Collective

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Pastoralists
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
OtherSome environmental impacts have been marked as visible because the Kinnaur region (Satluj basin) has already witnessed/and is witnessing environmental degradation given the cascade of hydropower projects under construction and more planned in the region.

Stage IV of the project raises even more heckles due to its proximity to the Lippa-Asarang Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to various endangered species including musk deer, snow leopard, yak, ibex, goral, blue sheep, brown bear, black bear and Himachal's state bird Mona [5]
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (undecided)
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The project affected populations have stopped all the construction activities started by the HPPCL for Stage-I and II and as representatives of affected community, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Samiti has challenged both the Environmental Clearance and Forest Clearance (Stage II and III) at the National Green Tribunal.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Forest Rights Act 2006
[click to view]

Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996
[click to view]

Schedule 5 Area
[click to view]

References

[1] In the Name of Clean Energy: A Report on the Asian Development Bank Financed Hydropower Projects in Himachal Pradesh
[click to view]

Links

[4] Comments submitted by local environment groups against granting of CDM to Integrated Kashang Hydroelectricity project
[click to view]

[5] Kinnaur's Curse?- Environmental Threat from Hydroelectric Projects
[click to view]

[5] India Water Portal - Drilling the hills to devastation
[click to view]

Other Documents

[2] Objections to the CDM application for Integrated Kashang Project, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh Submitted to UNFCC by local environment groups
[click to view]

[3] Green Tribunal's Interim order on Integrated Kashang dated 23rd November, 2012 HPPCL directed by the Tribunal to not divert forest land for non forest purposes
[click to view]

Dam site of Stage I Kashang Hydroelectricity Project The ongoing construction of Stage I (65 MW) Integrated Kashang
[click to view]

Power house site of Integrated Kashang The Power house of Stage I and II Integrated Kashang is combined
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorHimdhara Environment Research and Action Collective, Himachal Pradesh, India (www.himdhara.org) and Daniela Del Bene, ICTA - UAB ( d.delbene_at_gmail.com)
Last update25/11/2015
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