Case Study: Public Input in Indian Environmental Decisions

Kinnaur’s tribal population feels helpless a decade after consenting to hydropower project


The Sutlej River basin in India currently has 142 hydropower projects underway, with 53 falling within the hilly district of Kinnaur. Some of these projects started over a decade ago with promises made to local tribals to secure a No Objection Certificate (NoC) for the projects. Even with numerous delays and project costs exceeding expectations, multiple amendments have been made to India’s environmental appraisal law to keep this project moving forward. Growing disappointment and disaffection among locals has led many to join the struggle to object to any future hydropower projects.

Environmental participation report author Meenakshi Kapoor explores the impacts of disenfranchisement of local communities and tribal peoples of Kinnaur around the Shongtong Hydroelectric Project, as the government fast-tracks large project approvals and removes environmental protections, in this article from The Bastion.

This story has been supported by the International Center for Not-for-profit Law as part of a study on public participation in environmental decisions. Learn more about our work in Asia and the Pacific here.