Mega solar park could put Spiti on thin ice

The World Bank-funded project in the idyllic Himachal region poses a threat to local tribals and rare animals.

“My yaks are grazing in Dhar Dumbachen,” said Rinchen Tobge, between sips of tea as he took a break from painting his two-room homestay on a November afternoon. He was preparing for the tourists expected to throng Spiti in the winter, hoping to catch a glimpse of a snow leopard.

“Dhar” means ridgeline in the local language. Dhar Dumbachen—at an elevation of 5,100 metres above sea level in the state of Himachal Pradesh—is a ridge with vast pastures around it. Residents of nearby Tashigang, Gete, Kibber and Chicham villages graze their livestock there in summer.

By January, Tobge’s two yaks …


Meenakshi Kapoor

Meenakshi is an independent researcher based in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Her bylines have appeared in The Third Pole, Article 14, Mongabay-India and Caravan, among others. Her interests include the environment, land and agrarian policies.