Hydro power projects- boon or bane for the rural communities of Western Himalayas

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A survey based questionnaire research was conducted in Sainj Valley, Himachal Pradesh. The survey was conducted in June-July 2015 in an area affected due to hydro power projects (HPPs). A total of 48 individuals participated in the survey. Based on survey questionnaire, it was found that native rural people perceived that HPPs had significantly brought positive change in life of native people and were therefore in favour of HPPs. However, large section of native people had not been benefited of HPPs. The decline in agriculture production, change in cropping pattern and poor access of water to native people were some of the negative implications of these projects. The dependence of native people on forest resources has not declined much and still number of local individuals depends on forest resources to supplement their income. Though, in current scenario people has benefited from such projects, however it is not known if it will be sustained for long time due to current unsustainable agriculture practices and limited employment opportunities. Moreover, Government should provide adequate compensation to the affected individuals by either providing a suitable land for agriculture or employment under various rural sector schemes.

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