Keshav Bhatia, Academic Content Writer at Edumarz

Humans have used and constructed dams since time immemorial to store water and harness its potential for different purposes, in the ancient times dams were mostly constructed for storage of water, management of floods, irrigation and urban planning.

Nowadays Large dams are built by the government for storage of adequate water, for generation of electricity, agriculture and many other uses and these dams have small canal systems that can take this water to great lengths.
An example of the Indira Gandhi Canal can be taken here, which has brought considerable water supply and greenery to the arid regions of Rajasthan.
Still there are causes for discontentment among the people who were supposed to benefit from such systems:
1. A few people have cornered all the benefits from this water canal.

2. The rampant mismanagement has led to inequitable distribution of water, people who live close to the source(upstream) corner all the benefits by farming water intensive crops like sugarcane and rice, which also go for a high price in the market, these people profit from the canal like that. Now the people who live downstream were also promised the benefit of getting adequate water for personal and agricultural use, but these people do not receive adequate water as the people upstream consume it most. 

3. People who have been displaced as a result of construction of these dams and their canal network do not get adequate compensation and at times never receive the benefits that were promised to them.

Tehri Dam on river Ganga and Sardar Sarovar Dam on River Narmada are examples of large dams, there was a massive uproar and protests against the raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, because large dams have some disadvantages.
Why are large dams being criticized? 

  • Social problems
    Displacement of large populations of poor peasants and tribals without adequate compensation or rehabilitation.

  • Economic problems

Proportionate benefits are not being generated by such projects, the huge amounts of public money invested gets swallowed up.

  • Environmental problems

            These projects lead to an extensive degree of deforestation and loss of
            biological diversity in that area.

Such projects lead to discontentment among people and have wide social consequences, the people who have been displaced by such projects are mostly poor tribals who get alienated from their lands and their forests without appropriate compensation, they also do not receive benefits from such projects.
The oustees of Tawa Dam, the Tawa Dam was built in Madhya Pradesh in the 1970s the people who were ousted are still fighting for their rights and to receive the benefits they were promised.

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