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Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Project, HP, India

(Over)work against the clock to complete the project and unsustainable labour conditions; workers raise their voice along with local inhabitants and prove connection between landslides, rockfalls and slope destabilisation with hydropower development


The Nathpa Jhakri Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Satluj River in Himachal Pradesh, India. A Memorandum of Understanding for execution of the Nathpa-Jhakri project was signed between Government of India and Government of Himachal Pradesh in July, 1991. Construction on the project began in 1993; the original plan called for a five-year construction period, but a rockslide shortly after the civil contract was signed in 1993 required extensive stabilisation work, and the project had to be redesigned. The project was finally commissioned in May 2004 and officially dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 28, 2005.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Project, HP, India
State or province:Himachal Pradesh
Location of conflict:Nathpa village, Kinnaur 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

Nathpa Jhakri HEP has an installed capacity of 1530MW. In July 2014, according to the company SJVN, it generated an all-time record of power by producing 1,191.217 million units against the target of 1,083 million units [4].

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,048,200,000 (according to WB) [1]
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1999
Company names or state enterprises:ABB Kraftwerk from Switzerland - Supplier of the rotary components of the generators and the cabling and safety systems.
Siemens from Germany
Continental Construction Corp Ltd from India
Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN) from India
Foundation Corporation of Canada from Canada - Construction work with Impregilo
Alstom from France - GEC Alsthom's Power Transmission and Distribution Division (T&D) won the order worth $55 million to supply and install India's largest gas insulated substation at Nathpa Jhakri.
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) from India
Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd (HCC) from India
Salini Impregilo from Italy - Construction work with Foundation Corporation of Canada
Relevant government actors:Central Water Commission (CWC), Central Electrical Authority (CEA)
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Bank For Reconstruction And Development (IBRD)
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America - Project ID: P009869, WB loan of US$ 485 MILLION
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Himdhara,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Informal workers
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[click to view]

Impact of Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power Project on the Environment and Livelihood in Kinnaur and Shimla Districts of Himachal Pradesh

Sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi. Written by Anup Katoch (Project Director), Jagtar Guleria (Associate Project Director), Ashok Kumar (Associate Project Director) -CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya

[1] World Bank project page
[click to view]

[2] Himdhara's Press Note 15th June 2015: Kinnaur residents rise-up! Demand immediate action on pathetic condition of NH-5
[click to view]

[3] Tribune News Service, On workers agitation
[click to view]

[4] POST - Record generation by Himachal power plant
[click to view]

Info-change - De-glaciation, design flaws affect Nathpa Jhakri Hydel Project
[click to view]

The Hill Post - SJVN’s 1500 MW Jhakri plant logs highest monthly generation
[click to view]

Plant at Salini-Impregilo technical page
[click to view]

Power-Tehnology - technical details on construction works and contractors involved
[click to view]

SJVN webpage on the project
[click to view]

Global Energy Observatory
[click to view]

Water Power and Dam Construction - A boost for hydro
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Presentation by Renuka Thapliyal and Manoj Jreat

and pictures from the valley
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, ICTA - UAB (
Last update19/11/2015
Conflict ID:2036
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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