Shekhar Singh Collections


Large Dams



The Indira Sagar Dam and its submergence zone


My first exposure to controversies surrounding large dams was through my association with the campaign against the Silent Valley Project, in 1978. Iwas, at that time, teaching and living in Shillong, in Meghalaya, and had developed a keen interest in bird-watching: my cottage was located at the edge of a reserve forest which abounded in bird species. Accordingly, I joined the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and was soon drawn into the debate regarding the ecological viability of the Silent Valley Project, which was being questioned by Salim Ali and many others.

I shifted to Delhi the next year and soon became a member (perhaps the oldest-in-age member) of Kalpavriksh, a fledgeling environmental action group set up in 1979 by a group of college and university students. In the early 1980s, some of the student members of Kalpavriksh decided to do a trek to the Narmada Valley in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, to see for themselves the potential social and environmental impacts of the proposed Narmada Valley project, involving over 30 large dams and many medium and small dams on the Narmada river and its tributaries. They returned convinced that the project, as currently being proposed, would be a social and environmental disaster. Subsequently, Kalpavriksh became an inherent part of the struggle against the Narmada project. I was myself persuaded of the need to review much of the project and got rapidly drawn into the debate.

As luck would have it, the two major dams on the Narmada river, Indira Saga and Sardar Sarovar, were given environmental clearance by the government of India, towards the end of the 1980s. As a part of the conditions for clearance, a Narmada Control Authority (NCA) was set up to oversee the implementation of the project. As per the requirements of the government of India, two subgroups of the NCA, one on the environment and the other on rehabilitation, were also constituted. In 1989, I was nominated a member of the NCA subgroup on environment and continue to be a member till today, 32 years later! This long association drew me firmly into the debate about large dams, specifically the Narmada dams.

The government of India had set up a ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) in 1985, to consolidate under one ministry the work related to environment, which from 1980 onwards was being handled by the department of environment, and before that the department of science and technology. Also, brought under the MOEF were matters related to forestry and wildlife, which were till then being handled by the ministry of agriculture. As a part of its new regulatory responsibilities, the ministry of environment and forests set up environmental appraisal committees (EAC) to advise the MOEF regarding environmental clearances for various development projects. In 1989, I was nominated to be a member of the EAC for river valley projects, and thereby my additional involvement with large dams.

Over the years I have not only served on various government committees related to large dams, but I have also been a part of popular movements relating to social and environmental impacts of large dams, and have tried to academically research and debate the pros and cons of river valley projects. Some documents related to these efforts are given below.

Shekhar Singh

Documents yet to be uploaded :

1. Agenda and minutes of the NAC environment subgroup.
2. Correspondence related to meetings of the environment subgroup.
3. Correspondence and documents related to the Narmada action plan and the Narmada Bachao Andolan, as supported by Kalpavriksh.
4. Papers related to the Supreme Court case regarding the Tehri Dam.

Documents under Large Dams


1990 - Evaluating River Valley Projects

1990 - Evaluating River Valley Projects Download






1992 - Evaluating Major Irrigation Projects in India

1992 - Evaluating Major Irrigation Projects in India Download





1998 - Dams, Conditional Environmental Clearances and the Pari-Passu Clause

1998 - Dams, Conditional Environmental Clearances and the Pari-Passu Clause Download





1999- Dams and People's Participation

Dams and People's Participation Download





2000-Case Study - Large Dams - India's Experience - World Commission on Dams

Case Study - Large Dams - India's Experience - World Commission on Dams Download





2002-Large Dams in India.

Large Dams in India. Download






2003-Social and Environmental Impacts of Large Dams in India

Social and Environmental Impacts of Large Dams in India Download





2004-Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project-Report of the Public Hearings

Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project-Report of the Public Hearings Download





Narmada Project

Large Dams - Narmada Project


Documents under Large Dams - Narmada Project


1988-The Narmada Valley Project - A Critique

The Narmada Valley Project - A Critique Download





2000-Maheshwar Hydroelectric Project - Rehabilitation and Resettlement - An Independent Review

Maheshwar Hydroelectric Project - Rehabilitation and Resettlement - An Independent Review Download





2010-Report on Assessment of Command Area Development Plans of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar Projects

Report of Expert Committee - Vol I - Rehabilitation & Environmental Aspects of Tehri Project Download






Narmada Project :
Proceedings of the Narmada Control Authority Environment Sub-Group (ESG)


1987- 1992, Introduction & Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - I

1987- 1992, Introduction & Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - I Download





1992-1993, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - II

1992-1993, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - II Download





1993-1996, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - III

1993-1996, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - III Download





1996-2000, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - IV

1996-2000, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - IV Download





2001-2003, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - V

2001-2003, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - V Download





2003-2019, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - VI

2003-2019, Proceedings of the NCA ESG, Part - VI Download





2008 - NCA Environment Sub Group (ESG) - Subject Wise Review of Minutes

2008 - NCA Environment Sub Group (ESG) - Subject Wise Review of Minutes Download





1993-2017 - ESG Related Correspondence

Correspondence between the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India & Shekhar Singh Member The Narmada Control Authority Environment Sub-Group (ESG) 1993-2017 Download






Narmada Project :
Correspondence and documents related to the Narmada Action Plan and the Narmada Bachao Andolan


1988-1993 - File 1 - KV Narmada Correspondence and Documents

1988-1993 - File 1 - KV Narmada Correspondence and Documents Download





1988-1991 - File 2 - KV Narmada Correspondence and Documents

1988-1991 - File 2 - KV Narmada Correspondence and Documents Download





Tehri Project

Large Dams - Tehri Project


Documents under Large Dams - Tehri Project


India’s Time Bomb

India’s Time Bomb Download






1990-Environmental Appraisal of the Multi Purpose Tehri Dam Project

Environmental Appraisal of the Multi Purpose Tehri Dam Project Download






1997-Report of Expert Committee - Vol I - Rehabilitation & Environmental Aspects of Tehri Project

Report of Expert Committee - Vol I - Rehabilitation & Environmental Aspects of Tehri Project Download





1997 - Report of Expert Committee - Vol II - Rehabilitation & Environmental Aspects of Tehri Project

1997 - Report of Expert Committee - Vol II - Rehabilitation & Environmental Aspects of Tehri Project Download






Tehri Project :
Relevant Unpublished/Out-of-print Documents by Other Authors


1986-Assessment of the Environmental Impact of the Tehri Dam - Report of the Working Group

Assessment of the Environmental Impact of the Tehri Dam - Report of the Working Group Download





1998 - Report of the Group of Experts on Seismic Safety of Tehri Dam - Vol I

1998 - Report of the Group of Experts on Seismic Safety of Tehri Dam - Vol I Download





1998 - Report of Group of Experts on Seismic Safety of Tehri Dam - Vol II

1998 - Report of Group of Experts on Seismic Safety of Tehri Dam - Vol II Download