Title: Can Bhutan hydropower model be replicated in India's north-eastern region? An assessment

Authors: Komol Singha; Pradyut Guha; Elangbam Haridev Singh

Addresses: Department of Economics, Sikkim University, Gangtok, 737102, India ' Department of Economics, Sikkim University, Gangtok, 737102, India ' Department of Quantitative, Math and Statistics, GCBS, Royal University of Bhutan, Gedu, Bhutan

Abstract: Hydropower contributes around 20% of Bhutan's economy, chiefly by exporting it to India. Around 90% of the sector's investment comes from India and the hydropower plants installed in Bhutan are typically the run-of-river (RoR) model. In India, around 1.5 lakh MW hydropower potential has been identified, which is six times more than Bhutan's. Of the total identified hydropower potential in India, 43% of it is found in the country's north-eastern region (NER). But, to date, hardly 2%-4% of it has been tapped. With the help of secondary data, this paper explored the evidence that India can replicate the Bhutan hydropower model. However, the dam-based model is strongly opposed due to its catastrophic impacts on the environment and the livelihood of the locals. Besides, the issues related to rehabilitation and political interference in dam construction are the major causes of concern in the hydropower sector in NER.

Keywords: anti-dam; Bhutan; economy; hydropower; north-eastern region; NER; India; run-of-river; RoR.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEA.2021.118277

International Journal of Economics and Accounting, 2021 Vol.10 No.4, pp.467 - 491

Received: 28 Aug 2020
Accepted: 15 Feb 2021

Published online: 18 Oct 2021 *

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