People. Policy. Power.
“If you are to suffer, you should suffer in the interest of the country.”
- Jawaharlal Nehru, Speaking to the villagers who were to be displaced by the Hirakud Dam in 1948
Humdam, is an education and outreach campaign that works with dam-affected communities to fully realise and understand their rights, acknowledge the impacts of resettlement, and navigate the complex but necessary negotiations.
What Does HumDam Do?
HumDam aims towards extending legislative and psychological help and well being to communities which have been relocated from their native villages and towns because of the construction of huge dams, industrial plants, commercial/residential buildings and complexes solely for monetary gains and economic purposes.
The onset of this project initiative came about while mapping and aiming to retell changes in the lives of the existing communities over several decades due to the Kalinadi Hydroelectric Power Project in Kalinadi, Uttara Kannada; Western Ghats, India.
Downstream the 101 m-high Supa Dam (100 MW), the river flows down through Dandeli town, taking huge pollution from West Coast Paper Mills on the way. From here it is dammed at Bommanahalli Pick up Dam, from where it is diverted to Nagazhari Powerhouse (870 MW), then to Kodasalli Dam and powerhouse (120 MW) and then at Kadra Dam and powerhouse (150 MW). If we look at the flow chart of Kalinadi Dams, the river seems to be flowing from one reservoir into the next, with nearly no free flowing river stretch between two dams. Its main tributaries Kaneri and Tattihalla have been dammed too (SANDRP, 2013).
Supa reservoir affected 47 villages of which 26 villages were fully submerged and 21 were partially affected. The total population affected is 15,000 of about 3000 families. 302 hectares of forest is cleared at Ramanagar to rehabilitate the affected people. The luxuriant growth of evergreen species developed and observed by our ancestors in the Kali river valley is now undergoing a vast change in its ecosystem along the river course and its tributaries. Competing claims over water and forests, in particular, are now a visible presence on the social landscape (Gadgil and Guha, 2007).