Kuther Hydroelectric Project, HP, India

In the name of energy diversification. JSW Energy group plant adds to India "renewable" potential but leaves one of its main Himalayan rivers dry. People cry out the lack of due information and consultation.


The Kuther hydel greenfield project is proposed to be developed as a 260 MW run-of-the-river scheme located in the upper reaches of river Ravi. The project is envisaged to harness the head available between villages Kutehr and Kharamukh, both situated along Chamba-Holi road about 70 km and 51 km, respectively, upstream of Chamba. The district, which falls under tribal notified area, is home to many such projects since 1980s when NHPC’s first plant, Baira Suil HEP was constructed. Ravi river has a total catchment area of 5,451 sq. km and its potential capacity has been assessed 2,294 MW. Out of them, 1,038.5 MW has been commissioned so far (early 2015) through four commissioned power projects, i.e. Baira suil (198 MW), Kuther, Chamera-I (540 MW), Chamera-II (300 MW).

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Basic Data
NameKuther Hydroelectric Project, HP, India
ProvinceHimachal Pradesh
Sitevillage Holi, Tehsil Bharmour, district Chamba
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
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe diversion barrage on River Ravi shall be located 4 km d/s of village Holi and is accessible through existing Chamba-Holi road.

An under-ground power house of size 85.5 m. x 18.5 m. x 42.0 m. shall be provided on the left bank of Ravi River near village Kharamukh to install and operate three units with cumulative generation capacity of 260 MW (although in the PDD submitted to UNFCCC the proponents declare capacity of 240MW). A circular tail race tunnel of 6.0 m diameter and 296.4 m long with bed slopes 1:71.6 will discharge the water back to River Ravi near village Kharamukh.

Overall land requirement of the project is 83.085 ha, out of which 72.747 ha is forest land and the balance 10.338 ha is private land [1]. The project shall submerge 11.345 ha of land comprising forest land and private land.
Project Area (in hectares)83,000
Level of Investment (in USD)191,520,000 INR - 3 million USD at 2009 price [1]
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population30 families [1]
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesJSW Energy Limited (JSWEL) from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Himachal Pradesh, Central Energy Authority
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationObjections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Local consultations have been carried out during a time of the year where local Gaddi shepherds and other groups were not there; for their livelihood, in fact, they move to lower grasslands during the winter months while others migrate to the Kangra valley to escape the cold and be employed in some other activity. The lack of recognition of local conditions, culture, tradition and ecology is a clear socio-environmental injustice.
Sources and Materials

[4] CDM documentation
[click to view]

[3] Shukla committee report
[click to view]

[1] HPPCL - Executive Summary of Kuther Hydro Electric Project (240 MW), Himachal Pradesh
[click to view]

Haresh Kumar Sharma and Pawan Kumar Rana, Assessing the Impact of Hydroelectric Project construction on the Rivers of District Chamba of Himachal Pradesh in the Northwest Himalaya, India - International Research Journal of Social Sciences
[click to view]

[2] Comments by Himdhara on CDM benefits
[click to view]


[click to view]

[5] Tribune India - Kuther power project allotment cancelled
[click to view]

The Economic Times - JSW Energy Project gets forest clearance
[click to view]

[6] NDTV Profit - JSW Energy Q2 Profit Rises 96 Per Cent to Rs 318.63 Crore
[click to view]

Other Documents

JSW logo
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDaniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB (d.delbene-at-gmail.com)
Last update17/01/2019