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Kol Dam Hydropower Project, HP, India

After investing in fossil fuels for decades, the Indian public company NTPC explores the hydro sector; its first hydel project raise protests, floods pilgrimage site and threatens a wildlife santuary. But it also faces fincancial distress.


The Koldam Dam Hydropower Project is an embankment dam on the Sutlej River near Barmana on the Chandigarh-Manali Highway ( NH-21) and the border of Bilaspur district and Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh, India. The total capacity of the project is 800 MW, and, when operational, the HEPP is expected to generate approximately 3,054GWh of electricity per annum. The host state Himachal Pradesh is entitled to receive 15% of the generated power free of cost and a further 12% at bus-bar rate.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kol Dam Hydropower Project, HP, India
State or province:Himachal Pradesh
Location of conflict:Barmana on the Chandigarh-Manali Highway ( NH-21 ) and the border of Bilaspur district and Mandi district
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 commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Total capacity is 800MW (4x200 MW).

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Level of Investment for the conflictive projectaprox 842,400,000 USD (5,400 crores INR)
Type of populationRural
Company names or state enterprises:National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) from India
Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited (Italthai) from Thailand - Contractor for “Main Civil Works Package I : Dam, Spillway & Power Intake Package
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) from India -
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Punjab, Himachal Pradesh Resettled and Affected Samiti
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Informal workers
Recreational users
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Local villagers have raised the issue of inadequate sum of compensation promised to the affected families [15]
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsKol Dam Threatens The Cheer Pheasant
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsSubmergence of sacred hotsprings
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Proposal and development of alternatives:After construction of the dam, as land cost and standard of living has gone up and the villages are like urban areas, local villagers demand that the initial compensation agreement should be revised; they also demand a rain-shelter at Nehar village, payment of one percent of revenue in cash, employment to local youths and better condition of roads and supply of electricity. Such demands are also reported in the PESE report, commissioned by the state government.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Sources & Materials

[1] NDTV - NTPC's First Hydropower Project Starts in Himachal
[click to view]

[2] NTPC Hydro
[click to view]

[3] Times of India
[click to view]

[4] The Tribune - NTPC set to commission 800-MW Kol Dam project
[click to view]

[5] The Uttarkhand Apocalypse: is Himachal next?
[click to view]

[click to view]

[8] Hindustan Times - NTPC Kol dam hydel projectall set to produce 800 MW
[click to view]

[9] The OK Travel - Kol Dam threatening to engulf Tattapani hot springs by April 2013
[click to view]

[10] Tribune India - Indo-Norwegian team inspects hot water springs

Says Tatta Pani, Manikaran, Vashisht can be developed as geothermal tourist destinations
[click to view]

[11] Business Standard - Himachal to restore hot water springs
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[12] The Hill Post, by RAVINDER MAKHAIK - Himachal Environmentalists Oppose Submergence of Sanctuary In Kol Dam Reservoir, NOVEMBER 30, 2010
[click to view]

[13] Kol Dam project to be opened soon
[click to view]

[14] Protest at Kol Dam site intensifies, Oustees demand job for each member of family or 25 lakh as compensation
[click to view]

[15] The Tribune - Plunge pool of Kol Dam damaged, Nov 1015
[click to view]

Italthai webpage onn the Koldam
[click to view]

Koldam Project of NTPC suffers major setback in Himachal
[click to view]

Kol Dam Threatens The Cheer Pheasant
[click to view]

BLOG: Kol Dam oustees threaten indefinite fast
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Daily Post - Farmers up against irregularities in Kol Dam transmission line, Jan 2016
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[15] Panel of Environmental and Social Experts (PESE) report
[click to view]

Tattapani (Hot Springs) India "Donn't Let it Die" - Dr Ritesh Arya
[click to view]

Presentation by NTPC - Kol Dam Hydro-Electric Project Diversion of 124.054 ha of Forest land of Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB (
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2009
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