Northeast India, apart from being the rainiest in India, is drained by two large river systems of the world – the Brahmaputra and the Barak (Meghna) – both transnational rivers cutting across bordering countries. The region, known for its rich water resources, has been witnessing an increasing number of conflicts related to water in recent years.
This volume documents the multifaceted conflicts and contestations around water in Northeast India, analyses their causes and consequences, and includes expert recommendations. It fills a major gap in the subject by examining wide-ranging issues such as cultural and anthropological dimensions of damming rivers in the Northeast and Eastern Himalayas; seismic surveys, oil extractions, and water conflicts; discontent over water quality and drinking water; floods, river bank erosion, embankments; water policy; transboundary water conflicts; and hydropower development. It also discusses the alleged Chinese efforts to divert the Brahmaputra River.
With its analytical and comprehensive coverage, 18 case studies, and suggested approaches for conflict resolution, this book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of development studies, governance and public policy, politics and international relations, water resources, environment, geography, climate change, area studies, economics, and sociology. It will also be an important resource for policymakers, bureaucrats, development practitioners, civil society groups, the judiciary, and media.
Table of Contents
List of Figures. List of Maps. List of Tables. Foreword by D. C. Goswami. Acknowledgements. List of Abbreviations. List of Contributors. 1. Understanding Water Conflicts in Northeast India K. J. Joy, Partha J. Das, Gorky Chakraborty, Chandan Mahanta, Suhas Paranjape and Shruti Vispute Fault Lines 2. Damming of Rivers and Anthropological Research: An Introductory Note A C Bhagabati 3. Water Quality in Assam: Challenges, Discontentment and Conflict Runti Choudhury, Anjana Mahanta, Chandan Mahanta 4. Harnessing Energy Potential in Fragile Landscapes: Exploration of Conflicts and Emerging Issues around Hydropower Developments in Sikkim Ghanashyam Sharma and Trilochan Pandey 5. Hydropower Conflicts in Sikkim: Recognizing the Power of Citizen Initiatives for Socio-environmental Justice Amelie Huber and Deepa Joshi 6. State Water Policy of Assam 2007: Conflict over Commercialising Water Chandan Kumar Sharma 7. Water Conflicts in Northeast India: The Need for a Multi-track Mechanism Nani Gopal Mahanta 8. Whose River is it, Anyway?: The Political Economy of Hydropower in the Eastern Himalayas Sanjib Baruah Case Studies 9. Conflicts over Embankments on the Jiadhal River in Dhemaji District, Assam Partha J. Das 10. Riverbank Erosion in Rohmoria: Impact, Conflict and Peoples’ Struggle Siddhartha Kumar Lahiri 11. The Char Dwellers of Assam: Flowing River, Floating People Gorky Chakraborty 12. Seismic Survey for Oil Exploration in the Brahmaputra River Basin, Assam: Scientific Understanding and People’s Perceptions Sanchita Boruah and Partha Ganguli 13. Hydrocarbon Extraction in Manipur and Its Impact on Barak Downstream Jinine Laishramcha 14. The Dibang Multipurpose Project: Resistance of the Idu Mishmi Raju Mimi 15. Tipaimukh High Dam on the Barak River: Conflicting Land and People R. K. Ranjan Singh 16. Hydropower Projects on the Teesta River: Movement against Mega Dams in Sikkim Tseten Lepcha 17. An Uneven Flow? Navigating Downstream Concerns over China’s Water Policy Nimmi Kurian
K. J. Joy is Senior Fellow, Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management, Pune, India.
Partha J. Das is Head of Water, Climate and Hazard Division of Aaranyak, Guwahati, India.
Gorky Chakraborty is Associate Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata, India.
Chandan Mahanta is Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India.
Suhas Paranjape was formerly Senior Fellow, Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management, Pune, India.
Shruti Vispute is a doctoral student at the School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK.
‘It is this kind of sound empirical research and careful deliberation on principles that can provide us the solid common ground for obviation or resolution of conflicts over water.’
Mihir Shah, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Shiv Nadar University, India
‘A must-read for all with an interest in understanding the politics and powers that mark contemporary water interventions and investments.’
Margreet Zwarteveen, Professor of Water Governance, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands