THDC & MRIDA
THDC India Limited, a Public Sector Enterprise under the Administrative Control of the Ministry of Power (MoP), Government of India has been given the responsibility to Develop, Commission & Operate Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP) across River Alaknanda in Chamoli District in the State of Uttarakhand, India. The VPHE Project is the Run-of-the-River (RoR) Scheme with an Installed Capacity of 444 Mega Watts (MW) with Annual Energy Generation of 1674 MU.
The Project is geographically on a narrow and deep gorge of the river, downstream of the existing Run-of-the-River (RoR) Hydropower Project at Vishnuprayag, and the ongoing Run-of-the-River Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Project. The Project has access from the existing National Highway.
The VPHE Project is being financed by the World Bank and has obtained requisite Clearances. The World Bank Social Safeguards Policies are accordingly applicable to the Project. The EPC Contract for Civil & Hydro Mechanical Works has been awarded on M/s Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) & work is under progress.
Private land has been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 & the community forest land which is owned by the government has been transferred with the approval of MoEF under the provisions for transfer of forest land. Besides above, about 9.54 Ha land has been transferred by PWD for the Project. Entire Private land of 31.639 Ha. has been transferred to Project across 7 Villages. In addition to above, Forest / Civil Soyam / Van Panchyat Land from 25 villages/ Van Panchayats have also been diverted for the VPHE Project.
Objective of the Project
The assignment aims to provide sustainable solutions to livelihood Generation / Promotion activities to the Project Affected Families in these villages. The Objective of the Assignment is to:
1. Establish a baseline & prepare a framework for creating livelihoods enhancement opportunities in & around the Project Affected Area /Villages.
2. Based on the baseline study, identify tailor-made pilot projects which can be implemented in Project affected villages/ area
3. Develop a long-term strategy for the implementation of Pilot Projects /Framework
THDCIL appointed Mrida as a specialized agency / social enterprise which comprises individuals with experience in corporate as well as socially relevant business, and a past record of having conducted similar interventions aimed at holistic rural development. Mrida is committed to create a movement – of individuals and organizations- to scale up initiatives and create meaningful, measurable social impact and also help THDCIL in building local leadership to ensure sustainability.
Current Status & Plans
The Base Line survey so far has been carried out across 11 villages. The survey was also supplemented by village level meetings in small groups, and informal interactions at various points in time.
The Base Line survey started on a very positive note and was proceeding ahead of schedule when it was unfortunately interrupted on account of the Covid-19 situation and the subsequent lockdown. Apart from the direct impact of almost 10 weeks that this has already had, there are likely to be additional implications due to the interruption – in the villages already surveyed, and the remaining villages to follow.
Moving forward, efforts will need to be made to bring about a change in mindset, across a variety of parameters :
In addition to conventional, regular livelihood opportunities such as dairy, poultry, stitching, computers, agri and so on, it would be relevant to explore new activities which will have an element of novelty and hence create interest – soap making, incense sticks, pencils/crayons, admission into the armed/para military forces, and so on
Bring in the concept of stakeholder and community engagement – financial as well as otherwise
Encourage a holistic approach – hence, for instance, not just cultivation, but value addition/processing, not just skill development but entrepreneurship, and finally, creation of market linkages as a very important and critical component to close the loop and promote a holistic approach to development. This would make initiatives not just sustainable in nature, but scalable as well
Encourage people to become job creators as against job seekers
Through influencers and opinion leaders, and also through strategically identified and executed pilot projects, focus on providing a platform on which they could build further
Focus on strategic tie-ups and partnerships, be it by way of leveraging Govt. schemes and incentives, collaborations with Pvt. Sector organizations and NGOs/Development agencies