Last update:
2015-11-19

Himalayan Ski Village, HP, India

A luxurious winter tourist station on the Himalayan mountains; communities ally with local deities in opposing the disruption of more than 6000 ha of land and its water resources.


Description:

The Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) was conceptualised as a mega tourism project in 2004 in the Western Himalayan town of Manali by Alfred Ford, the great grandson of Henry Food. [1] The town of Manali falls under District Kullu of Himachal Pradesh, India. With an investment figure worth $ 300 million, the Himalayan Ski village, back then in 2004, qualified as the largest foreign direct investment project in Indian tourism. [2] Alfred Ford's business company ABF International entered the Indian market in 2005, with a spate of investments in mega tourism projects. [3] The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the proposed HSV was signed on 9th December 2005. After the MoU and before the signing of the Implementation Agreement (IA), HSV evoked a series of local level protests across Kullu and Manali, mainly headed by local environment collectives, and State level political representatives.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Himalayan Ski Village, HP, India
Country:India
State or province:Himachal Pradesh
Location of conflict:Palchan, Manali, District Kullu
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific commodities:Tourism services
Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

This $ 300 million dollars ski resort was proposed at an altitude of 7,500 and 14,000 ft above sea level on the left bank of the Beas River starting from Palchaan village in Manali. While the built up area would have been spread over an area of 133 acres, the project would have also required access to 6000 acres of the mountain range for skiing activities.

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Project area:2,500
Level of Investment:300,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:40,000
Start of the conflict:2005
Relevant government actors:Government of Himachal Pradesh, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Expert Appraisal Committee, Himachal High Court, District Administration
International and Finance InstitutionsNaturpolis Ltd from Finland
Finpro from Finland - As part of these Finnish collaborations, many local skiers were taken on Skiing training Programme to Finland
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Jan Jangran evam Vikas Samiti, Haripur, District Kullu
Jan Hit Sangarsh Samiti, Kullu
Him Niti Abhiyan- A State level coalition of people's groups and activists.
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Other Environmental impactsSince the project involved making artificial snow on mountain slopes to sustain the tourism potential of the Ski Village around the year, this could have heavily impacted water and irrigation needs of the local population as chemically produced snow requires heavy inputs of both water and power (Kanchi Kohli).
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Specific impacts on women, Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsIn recent years, the local environment groups and community leaders have taken a critical stand on small hydropower projects as well proposed on the smaller streams and rivulets around Kullu-Manali. Local public has questioned its very local level social impacts- like disruption of irrigation channels, illegal muck dumping, lack of adequate safety mechanism, impacts on fisheries based livelihoods, diversion of forest land etc. Two prominent cases of small hydro opposition are the Haripur Nallah project and Aleo II hydroproject.
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:One alternative forwarded by the local political representatives entails the upgradation of already existing tourism infrastructure in and around Kullu- Manali town. For local environmental groups, the main issue is that of ownership over their natural resources like land, water and forests. As an alternative, they prefer a tourism model that is locally based and sustainable than a mega project involving huge international capital, and power vested in a few hands. However, it is questionable that the 'locally rooted' tourism model resonates well with aspirations of the younger generation looking for a flourishing tourism 'industry' in region.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Latest newspaper reports indicate the current Congress Government's interest in reconsidering the Himalayan Ski Village project. Not much information is currently available in public domain. However, the local environmental groups and political representatives (HLP) have maintained their position on the project. Everything depends on how the State Government takes the case of HSV forward.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] [3] Impacts of the proposed Himalayan Ski-Village in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh- A Preliminary Fact Finding Report
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] On thin ice
[click to view]

[5] A Himalayan Blunder
[click to view]

[6] Government seeks fresh information on the Himalayan Ski Village
[click to view]

[4] We will continue to oppose the Himalayan Ski Village: Maheshwar Singh
[click to view]

Ski village plans hit the skids
[click to view]

Other documents

Protest against Himalayan Ski Village Protest rally against Himalayan Ski Village in Manali town on 18th June 2007
[click to view]

Protest against Himalayan Ski Village Protest rally against Himalayan Ski Village in Manali town on 18th June 2007
[click to view]

[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective, Himachal Pradesh, India (www.himdhara.org) and Daniela Del Bene, ICTA - UAB ( d.delbene_at_gmail.com)
Last update19/11/2015
Comments
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