Locked in Hydropolitics: Understanding the Local Protests and Differing Dynamics in Tawang
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Infrastructural developments in Arunachal Pradesh are pursued mainly by building of dams to tap the hydel resources and through road connectivity. Arunachal Pradesh has a hydropower potential for 162 hydropower sites, and 42 has been slated to be installed in the state with two mega-hydropower project in Tawang alone. But these hydel power projects are often politically construed as measures to address the infrastructural deficit in the region than all round tribal development. This perception towards the projects has invariably evoked local resistance. The chapter aims to look at the rhetoric that the anti-dam protests by the Monpa make and how different is it from similar local resistances occurring in the northeast region. In addition, much research has been done to understand the international politics of dams and the grass-roots micro-politics of displacement and resistance to dam constructions. But little has been studied to understand how a local protest that is born out of the grass-roots systemic mismanagement of resources acquires an international or transnational dynamic owing to the larger geography and location of the dam, the significance of the river and the site of dam construction. This paper tries to understand this overlapping of external dynamics into the internal causes of the protests and locates the answer in the national-level decision-making.
KeywordsHydropower Development politics Tribal communities Resistance Social movements Geostrategy Water conflict India China
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