Spatial politics and local alliances shaping Nepal hydropower uri icon

abstract

  • This paper investigates the spatial dimension of power relations and the shaping of local alliances through a hydropower development project in Nepal. It provides a grass-roots illustration on the role of space in shaping and reshaping power relations, and how it manifests in the formation of local strategic alliances. Taking the Upper Karnali hydropower project as a case study, the paper highlights: 1) the role of private sector actor as an ad-hoc decision maker in hydropower development in the country; 2) how hydropower development is perceived by those who will be most affected; and 3) how the two shape the localized dynamics in hydropower decision making, while also sheds light on some of the key gaps in hydropower decision-making landscape and processes. Viewing space as a process and a product of socio-political interface, it shows how local communities living along the Karnali River view the planned hydropower project differently, how these views are rooted in their relationship with the hydropower company, and how such relationship is predetermined by local communities' bargaining power in relation to the proximity of their respective villages to the planned hydropower dam site, and vice versa. Unpacking the power relations shaping and reshaping spatial politics in hydropower decision making, it presents the concept of spatial alliances as a theoretical underpinning to unpack the question on why and how power relations emerge, are sustained and reproduced. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019