Towards Responsible Hydropower Development through Contentious Multi-stakeholder Negotiations: The Case of India

  • Nirmalya Choudhury


This chapter explores reforms in environmental and resettlement policies in India and the influence of domestic and external actors on the reform process. It also analyses the ways in which environment and resettlement policies have been implemented in a number of hydropower projects. At macro level, the study begins by describing the multilevel processes that govern dam decision-making. It then considers changes regarding environmental clearance and resettlement, and the role which state and non-state actors played in the last three decades. At project level the analysis focuses on how state and non-state actors influence decision-making on the introduction of superior environmental and social standards through changes in policies and laws. The dam projects selected are the Allain Duhangan Project, the Lower Subansiri Project and the Dibang Multipurpose Project. The study argues that, at macro level, it is civil society which has been the major driver of change in the area of resettlement over the last three decades. In the environment arena the changes are the outcome of competing demands from civil society and growth-oriented ministries and departments of the Government of India. At project level, superior social and environmental standards are primarily driven by social movements. International actors like the International Finance Corporation also catalyse the reform process.


Civil Society Environmental Impact Assessment Civil Society Organisation Public Hearing Project Developer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author acknowledges the generous support of International Postgraduate Studies in Water Technologies (IPSWaT) for supporting the field research for this study. The author would like to thank Parthojyoti Das, Keshab Chatradhar, Tony Mikrows and Sunder Mahant for their help during the fieldwork. The author would also like to thank the many resource persons in India, who have enormously helped the author in developing a better understanding of environmental governance in India. Author acknowledges the help of Saptarshi Dey in creating a map depicting the study locations.The author would also like to thank Ramaswamy R. Iyer and Peter Mollinga for their comments on an earlier extended version of this chapter.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Council on Energy Environment and WaterNew DelhiIndia

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