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Jispa Hydroelectricity Project, HP, India

Village communities in Lahaul-Spiti join hands in rejecting the proposed HEP. The state government shifted its location but its opponents do not give up and also start a discussion on what local sustainable development they want


The 300 MW Jispa hydroelectric project by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) is proposed on the Bhaga river in Lahaul-Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, India. The river is a tributary of Chandrabhaga or the Chenab river. The proposed location of the dam lies downstream the confluence point of Jankar and Milang stream. [1] Lahaul-Spiti has a predominantly tribal population and falls under Schedule V of the Indian Constitution wherein their tribal interests are safeguarded.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Jispa Hydroelectricity Project, HP, India
State or province:Himachal Pradesh
(municipality or city/town)Jispa, Lahaul-Spiti
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
Water access rights and entitlements
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The Jispa hydroelectricity project is a 200 meter high rock fill dam at an altitude of 3245 meters (10,700 ft) amsl and is envisaged to be primarily a water storage scheme. The project will regulate the downstream flow of the river and intends to generate 300 MW of electricity. The Head race tunnel for the proposed Jispa project is 18 kms long.

Project area:1,635
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:14 Villages
Company names or state enterprises:Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) from India
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Jispa Bandh Jan Sangarsh Samiti

Jispa Bachao Samiti

Seli Project Sangarsh Samiti, Madgran Village, Tehsil Udaipur

Gramin Yuva Sangathan, Madgran village

Lahaul-Spiti People's Association

Gram Panchayats from the affected Villages
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsAll the impacts have been listed as potential as the project is still under planning.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
The proposed Jispa project has been suspended in its original location but was shifted 3km upstream.
Development of alternatives:For Jispa project, the community leaders are demanding that State government explore different design options for water storage at Jispa. They have publicly stated that no displacement will be tolerated and that more eco and social friendly designs be devised. One option put forward by one of the community leaders is to have run of the river technology.

The people of Lahaul and Spiti Valley through various indigenous initiatives such as the Lahaul- Spiti People's Association are in the process of designing a vision document demanding sustainable development in the region. The Association held its first ever meeting in September 2013 at Keylong, the District Headquarters. People from different walks of life and representatives of 28 panchayats congregated to brainstorm a Tourism and development model that is rooted locally.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The local community has been successful in sustaining their opposition since 2010. People are altogether demanding scrapping of the project and have boycotted consultations and not allowed HPPCL to carry any kind of survey. Since not much official information is available on public domain about the Jispa Hydroelectricity project, but based on the narratives of the local people and activists, they themselves in many ways perceive their struggle against Jispa as successful.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] [4] Beginning of the End- A Preliminary report on the Jispa Dam and Hydropower project on the Chenab Basin, Lahaul Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
[click to view]

[7] Changing the Colours of Chenab- Narratives on hydropower 'development' from Lahaul Valley
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Multiple hydel projects in Chenab worry experts
[click to view]

Another invitation to disaster in Chenab basin
[click to view]

Hydropower Generation Performance in Chenab River Basin by SANDRP
[click to view]

Indian hydel project in Lahaul-Spiti will regulate Chenab’s flow to Pakistan
[click to view]

Depleting water sources in Himachal worry locals
[click to view]

[2] Locals demand to cancel Jispa Hydro power project
[click to view]

Bumper to Bumper Dams
[click to view]

[8] Panel to prepare final draft of CEIA study on Chenab basin by 2015
[click to view]

[2] Environmental Clearance for pre-construction activities to the proposed 300 MW Jispa Hydroelectric project
[click to view]

[9] Environmental compliance of hydel projects in Himachal Pradesh - Shukla committee report (2009)
[click to view]

Other documents

[5] [6] SANDRP's Project wise details of Stage 1 and 2 Environment Clearance status A compilation of minutes of the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Project between April 2007- December 2012
[click to view]

Dam site of 300 MW Jispa Hydroelectricity Project The dam site for proposed Jispa project near Darcha Village, Lahaul-Spiti
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB ([email protected])
Last update19/11/2015