Indigenous rights undermined for hydropower in northern Indian state

(Eco Business, 23 Oct 2020) Villagers in Himachal Pradesh say they have been left out of a crucial decision on the second and third stage of a hydropower project with huge environmental risks.

Imagine having to fight four legal battles over 10 years for what is yours even according to the Indian Constitution. This is what has happened in the case of the Kashang Integrated Hydro Electric project located in the district of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh.

Kinnaur is recognised as Schedule V (with special rights) under the Constitution, because its population is predominantly comprised of forest-dwelling communities.

“We are frustrated with this project,” said Bhagat Singh Kinnar, a resident of Rarang, an affected village in the district. Kinnar is also the sole petitioner in one of the legal battles.

“People have been shouting and screaming, running to the courts and holding protests but this has had no impact… it seems like the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation [HPPCL] has the full support of the [state] government and the bureaucracy,” he added.

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Eco Business, 23 Oct 2020: Indigenous rights undermined for hydropower in northern Indian state