ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

II : Migration and Energy in the Indian Himalayan Region: Abandoned Gharats or Abandoned Sustainability


Dhaundiyal Shruti - University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy, Cambridge, United Kingdom


46 – Sustainable Regeneration of Water Infrastructures: An Invitation to Forge Interdisciplinary Governance & Policy Design Thinking


 Gharats/water mills are traditional structures used for grinding grains and many are installed/constructed across the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) where water from glacier-fed rivers powers the mills. Recent investment and low-cost technology proliferation of solar &hydro energy infrastructure across the IHR has led to some functional Gharats in villages being used for hydro energy generation during the rainy season. Gharat structures exist in almost all peripheral village areas in the states of the IHR.However, whether funding-strapped states that require investment to upgrade& green existing energy infrastructure, should think of possible piecemeal interventions to the state energy system up-gradation, is a question requiring further analysis. This paper initially looks at the economic policy infrastructure surrounding the Gharats in the state of Uttarakhand, India. The relevancy of addition/maintenance of Gharats for village energy needs to be analyzed with the lens of sustainable energy at the micro scale across the Himalayas where grid maintenance& up-gradation are also issues of substance. The Indian Mountain states are facing an intense wave of migration towards urbanized cities; then with the fall in human resource availability, village agriculture is also being abandoned and thus the need and also the human resource required for the revitalization and maintenance of Gharats is absent. Thus the revitalization of Gharats within the state energy system needs a rethink.