Mining vs. Hydel Power Projects- Ownership, Environment and the State: A Case Study of Khanyara (Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh

Juhi Priyanka Horo

Abstract


Slate mining was the only community based mineral resource management in Khanyara at a point of time in history. According to the State laws, Mining activities were considered illegal and there aroused differences in state government policies. Khanyara Panchayat lost their rights and the mining activities were ceased down in 1997 (625 hectares). In 2004, the mining was reopened but for 25 hectares of land and distribution of the mines is to a handful group of individuals and companies. With the gradual drift in time, consecutive changes started taking place and developments took shape in terms of hydel power projects. Hydel power has the key feature of adapting to the period of necessities, during on- peak and off-peak; referred as hydro- shifting (Edwards et al., 1999). The construction of hydropower plants is dependent on the factors of the topography, the underlying geological conditions, the availability of water resource and its flow potential, the nature of economy, ease of transportation, the impact of earthquakes and landslides etc (Gunaydin, 2012). Taking the morphological conditions of India, the underlying topography of Khanyara has highly favoured the pre- requisite of run-of-river hydel projects. The report evolves with the objective to look at the pros and cons of the Slate Mining and Hydel Power Project and its impact on the population of Khanyara. The comparability of mining and hydel projects, former being instinctive and the latter being induced economic activity, the objective lies in sketching the chronology of rural transformation that took place in Kangra, with the spontaneous shift in the continuum of economic activity. Furthermore, the transformation should not only be seen in the context of source of livelihood but the pattern of ownership, the contribution of State, and its perpetual effect on the environment should also be taken into consideration.


Keywords


Environment, Hydel Power Project, Khanyara, Ownership, Slate Mining, State.

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