Local Area Development through Hydropower Project: A Case Study of Parbati Hydro-electric Project Stage-III (520MW) in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh India
AbstractHydropower is considered as renewable, cheap and pollution free source of energy in comparison to conventional source of energy. The major river system and topographical variation in Indian Himalayan Region(IHR) offer huge hydroelectric potential because of available net head and water discharge. Efforts are being made for sustainable harnessing of hydroelectric potential of IHR to meet the gap between demand and supply of electricity. Most of these hydropower sites are located in remote hilly terrain of IHR with limited infrastructure like access road, market, hospital etc. For timely execution of hydro power projects(HPPs), infrastructure development is required by project proponent at a faster pace. Like any other developmental projects, establishing of HPPs are also associated with some pros and cons however, the benefits of hydro-projects in terms of infrastructure facility such as road, bridge for proper connectivity, job prospects in construction works, market, civic facilities, source of cheap and clean electricity play a pivotal role in socio-economic development of particular region and nation as well.Present study has been conducted for Parbati Hydroelectric Project Stage-III (520MW) constructed on river Sainj in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, India. All the Project components are located in Sainj valley of Kullu district, a part of Beas basin in North-western Himalaya. The objective of study is to assess and evaluate the Local area development (LAD) in Sainj valley following the start of construction of Parbati HE Project-III in the Year 2006 by NHPC Limited (a Government of India Enterprise-miniratna). The assessment of local area development is based on comparison of baseline data of Sainj area prior to start of construction of project and data available during construction phase of project followed by reviewing of Govt. policy for Local Area Development Fund (LADF) in project affected area and consultation with people from project affected gram-panchayats located in the vicinity of construction sites to know their perception about the role of Parbati hydroelectric Project Stage-III in local area development of Sainj valley. The result of study shows that there is substantial increase in developmental activities in and around the project area due to the construction of Parbati HE Project-III. Particularly, infrastructural development (road-bridge) led to improvement in communication and accessibility of villages (Manham, Banau, Sapangini,Talara) in Sainj valley, better transport facility for horticulture products of farmers in Sainj valley to nearby market located on NH-21. The prospects of job opportunities in Project construction works, ancillary activities and in petty contract works also improved. Implementation of community development Schemes of NHPC led to availability of additional medical facilities, educational facility in Govt. Schools and development of socio-cultural aspects (Crematorium, melaground, toilets,watersupply etc) in Sainj valley are attributed to the construction of Parbati HEP-III. During construction phase of the project, in compliance to Govt. policy for LADF @ 1.5% of project cost allocated for execution of developmental works resulted in source of specific fund for development opportunity in Project affected area(PAA) in the valley and nearby areas. Out of total LADF for PAA, 60% was shared equally among three project affected gram-panchayats and remaining 40% among 04 gram-panchayats for taking-up developmental works by resolution of Gram-Shaba and local area development Committee(LADC). Also, during operational phase of Project, the provision of LADF @ 1% share of free power and revenue equivalent to 12% share of free power to State Govt. of Himachal Pradesh from Parbati HEP-III on annual basis through-out the life span of project are continuous source of financial gain from Parbati HEP-III which will act as a stimulus for development.
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