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ADB Embankment subproject in the Brahmaputra river of Kaziranga, Assam, india

The indigenous Mishing communities at the fringe of the KNP, fighting to reclaim their rights to land and fair compensation against an ADB funded project.


The Kaziranga sub-project dyke is the second of the 3 subprojects (Palasbari- Gumi, Kaziranga, and Dibrugarh) approved in 2010 to increase the reliability and effectiveness of flood and riverbank erosion in the flood-prone area, along the Brahmaputra river in the eastern state of Assam, India. The project, which has created major concerns to the local people of the area, operates under the State Government of Assam (GoA) with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the tune of $ 150 million USD [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:ADB Embankment subproject in the Brahmaputra river of Kaziranga, Assam, india
State or province:Assam
Location of conflict:Bokakhat
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:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program (the investment program) was approved in 2010 to increase the reliability and effectiveness of flood and riverbank erosion risk management (FRERM) systems in flood-prone areas in Assam, through structural and nonstructural interventions, policy strengthening, and institutional and knowledge bases. The financing framework agreement for the Multi Tranches Financing Facility (MFF) was signed between ADB and the Government of Assam on 8 September 2010. On 19 October 2010, the ADB Board approved the provision of loans to India under an MFF of up to $120 million equivalent to be implemented between October 2010 and September 2017. The MFF focuses on three selected and appraised subprojects (Palasbari- Gumi, Kaziranga, and Dibrugarh) with flood embankment systems protecting critical urban and productive rural areas along the Brahmaputra River, and capacity building initiatives. Project 1, was completed on 31st July 2017 for a total cost of $60.62 million ($ 48.50 million ADB loan and $ 12.12 million government share).

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Project area:3,800
Level of Investment:82,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:450 households
Start of the conflict:04/11/2017
Relevant government actors:Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam (FREEMAA)
Water Resource Department (WRD)
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Jeepal Krishak Sramik Sangha (JKSS)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Mising indigenous community
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Desertification/Drought, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:Jeepal Krisak Sramik Sangha, has been taking up the struggle to revise the rehabilitation, compensation and land acquisition process which the Asian Development had come to the project area to take a public hearing on the 12/02/2014. but the outcome is yet to be actualised.
As per demands of Jeepal the Grievance Redressal Committee has been ordered for reformation by FREMAA an implementing agency.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The project is under construction. there is a negotiation with the local community. The protests and memorandums are under consideration by the ADB, FREMAA and Assam Government but no outcome has been realized yet.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Resettlement and Indigenous Peoples Plan
[click to view]

MoEF Guidelines on Environmental Clearance
[click to view]

Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013
[click to view]

FREEMA website
[click to view]

[4] The Telegraph. "Project no threat to park". October 28, 2009
[click to view]

[1] The Hills Times. "Sonowal lays foundation stone for ADB aided Kaziranga sub-project for flood and erosion control". October 31, 2018.
[click to view]

[5] The Assam Tribune. "Aggrieved people to organise public demo tomorrow". Jan 25, 2019.
[click to view]

Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program - Project 2: Periodic Financing Request Report
[click to view]

[3] The Assam Tribune. "Move to construct dyke without the informed consent of people opposed". December 19, 2018.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Gherao/Cordoning of Golaghat Collectors Office to immediately stop eviction of people in maridhanshri Panchayat adjacent to Kaziranga, due to the ADB funded embankement project
[click to view]

Public meeting and protest by project affected communities, Jeepal krisak Sramik Sangha
[click to view]

Other documents

[2] Kaziranga Subproject submission from affected communities A submission letter to the authorities responsible for the Embankment project from the local communities of Kaziranga explaining their concerns and their demands. Attachment of all the 5 memoranda submitted to the authorities.
[click to view]

Other comments:There has been a media blackout by the local pro-administration and casteist media as a result of which the ensuing conflict between the project proponents and the affected communities are getting either obfuscated or repressed.
Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, ICTA (UAB)
Last update18/08/2019
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