photo of Indian woman Garwhal and Kumaon
employment and income
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introducing the area


 quotes about development
 key testimonies featuring development

This collection contains a wealth of material on development, much of it critical of initiatives imposed from outside which ignore local needs and priorities. There is a widespread consciousness of the issues and plenty of ideas on the appropriateness of different concepts. Large-scale development in general and the Tehri Dam in particular are criticised by many narrators who claim this kind of development rarely benefits local people. India 28 states: "The so-called big development plans are not going to benefit the local people. The local circumstances, the environment and the wellbeing of the people should be the main criteria for planning development." Many narrators believe that working towards self-sufficiency - using and building up local expertise and resources - will benefit them most. Many see support for cottage industries as an appropriate form of development, to enable people to benefit from their local resources and provide employment opportunities, thus preventing the migration of the young and educated in search of work in the plains.

Drawing on direct experience, many argue that the conservation of the environment is crucial for future development. India 10 states: "Until we link the environment with development, we cannot talk of the right kind of development." He goes on to say, the new generation prefer to think about the environment "only after taking care of their stomachs, of unemployment, of economic resources." There are numerous examples of development initiatives that are too narrow in their benefits, for example, the widely promoted cash crop of soya bean. Its cultivation requires chemical inputs, and it cannot be processed locally and so yields few of the side products that made local crops so much more useful (oil, fibre, fodder etc).

Bachandei (India 34) describes how "people came from Delhi" and told them to grow a new kind of mustard seed: many plants grew too tall and collapsed; the remaining plants ripened so late that they delayed the sowing of the next crop, which then failed. Farmers ended up out of pocket. Women in particular can be disadvantaged by new agricultural methods, as traditionally much of farming labour and expertise was theirs. By changing to cash crops, which have no use for that knowledge, some feel women are in danger of losing some of their control over the food supply and income, as the profits tend to go to the men. Local organisations such as the Mahila Mangal Dals (rural women's councils) are actively working for the appropriate development of their area, both promoting activities and raising awareness of issues and alternatives.

There are positive stories too - electricity has eased some workloads dramatically, roads bring certain clear benefits as well as problems, increased access to education is welcomed, horticulture is proving productive, as are other initiatives. But at the heart of the debate is the issue over access to and control over local resources. To many narrators, the question remains (10, Jagat) "Does the government of today want the development of people in the hills? Or does it want the development of people outside based on what they can get from the hills? They are making these huge dams. I ask you, what direct benefit will we get from these big dams?.If they are making these dams because electricity is required for the factories of Delhi and Meerut, and the electricity produced here can be sent there, then what can those places give us?"

quotes about development

"..there should be development, but it should be based on the culture and traditions of this area. If you import a song from outside, and the people here don't know the tune, the results will not be good."
Mohan, M/60, ayurvedic physician, India 8

"People are resorting to education more as there will be development only through education. But instead of any development taking place, once they are educated they run away from here. Then what development can take place?"
Vimla, F/58, head of Mahila Mangal Dal /farmer, India 6

"People believe that if there are roads in the village development has taken place, if a school has opened then development has taken place. What is the direct benefit of having a road in our village, and how does it affect development?.. The people here are connected not with roads but with their forests. [The road] is not going to be of some loss only to us. The grass will go, the trees will go, the stone will go from our village."
Bihari, M/60s, leader of grassroots organisation, India 12

"These days the things are much better than before. We now get everything here. People get employment in the village itself. The government has started various development programmes. School buildings have been constructed, roads are being built, mule tracks, forest development, electrification, agricultural development projects... These are generating job opportunities as well as providing the basic necessities."
Ram, F/67, farmer, India 17

"If we can get facilities for irrigation, and if we get good grain harvests in our hills, then we have no need to go anywhere else. These are the reasons why I oppose the Tehri Dam. they are transporting [our water] to Delhi. The people of Delhi are rich, they can do whatever they like. We are poor people. It is not that we are protesting that the dam should not be built at all. But it should be built in such a way that.the water should reach the people whose land it goes through. It should only be allowed to go further when everybody's stomach is full."
Sudesha, F/50s, activist/farmer, India 1

key testimonies featuring development

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   1   Sudesha   female/50   activist/farmer   Rampur village, Henwal valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   10   Jagat   male/44   self-taught forester/ farmer   Kot Malla village, Alaknanda Valley, Chamoli  
Summary Transcript   12   Bihari   male/60s   leader of grassroots organisation   Budakedar, Balganga valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   17   Ram   female/67   farmer   Krabha village, Nichar, Sutlej valley, Kinnaur  
Summary Transcript   18   Lakupati   Female/80   Farmer   Chaura village, Nichar, Sutlej valley, Kinnaur  
Summary Transcript   19   Radhakrishan   male/75   farmer   Khwada village, Balganga valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   28   Vijay   male/41   activist/farmer   Jardhargoan, Henval valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   29   Savitri   female/50   head of Mahila Mangal Dal   Sabli village, Henval valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   30   Dhoom   Male/57   horticulturalist   Chandra Dhungi village, Alaknanda valley, Chamoli  
Summary Transcript   32   Maheshwari   Female/45   Panchayat member   Netala village, Bhagirathi valley, Uttarkashi  
Summary Transcript   33   Beena   female/25   head of regional panchayat   Chamiyala village, Balganga valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   5   Avatar   male/75   mason/carpenter/ farmer   Kumali village, Henval valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   6   Vimla   female/58   head of Mahila Mangal Dal/farmer   Dargi village, Henval valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   7   Tegh   male/74   farmer   Bilog village, Bhagirathi valley, Uttarkashi  
Summary Transcript   8   Mohan   male/60   ayurvedic physician   Chamba, Henval valley, Tehri Garhwal  
Summary Transcript   9   Satye   male/45   farmer/waged work   Goni village, Alaknanda valley, Tehri Garhwal