Koel Karo: Jharkhand

  • 30/07/2003

February 2, 2001, is a date etched in blood in Tapkara. It was the first major incident of violence in about three decades of protest against the proposed Koel-Karo dam in the Torpa block of Ranchi district, Jharkhand. Police opened fire on 2,000 tribal people (or 5,000, depending on the estimate you prefer to trust) who had gathered to protest at Tapkara village. Five people died on the spot and three in the hospital.

Their object of ire: a proposed project to generate 710 megawatts of power by building two dams across the Koel and the Karo rivers and a connecting channel. The project was proposed in 1973, and protests began immediately by people likely to be displaced. The movement against the dam became part of the larger movement for creation of a separate Jharkhand state. It is widely cited as the longest and the most successful anti-dam movement in India, rooted entirely in the highly mobilised Munda society

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