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Management practices to minimize land use conflicts on large infrastructure projects: examples of dams construction in Pakistan

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In this research two cases of infrastructure development (Chotiari and Diamer Bhasha Dams) from Pakistan were studied in terms of a superposition of land uses and their consequences. For this purpose, we obtained qualitative information from both primary as well as secondary sources. Primary data were collected through a partially developed questionnaire from pre-selected experts of various professional backgrounds. National and regional dailies along with other published literature were used as a secondary source of information. The findings have identified the key groups of stakeholders and their relative social power at different levels of governance. The results further highlight that unfair land acquisition, improper displacement, mismanagement in compensation, etc., have caused negative impacts on local people and the surrounded environment. The article further emphasizes governance issues and conflicts among different actors due to the project. Finally, we recommend several actions to prevent strong opposition and conflicts in the infrastructural project in developing countries, like the enhancement of the capacities and the capabilities of the local population, the diffusion of information and the involvement of stakeholders, and the application of technical tools and devices.
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Management practices to minimize land use conflicts
on large infrastructure projects: examples of dams
construction in Pakistan
Habibullah Magsi .Muazzam Sabir .Andre Torre .Abbas Ali Chandio
Accepted: 8 October 2021
ÓThe Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2021
Abstract In this research two cases of infrastructure
development (Chotiari and Diamer Bhasha Dams)
from Pakistan were studied in terms of a superposition
of land uses and their consequences. For this purpose,
we obtained qualitative information from both pri-
mary as well as secondary sources. Primary data were
collected through a partially developed questionnaire
from pre-selected experts of various professional
backgrounds. National and regional dailies along with
other published literature were used as a secondary
source of information. The findings have identified the
key groups of stakeholders and their relative social
power at different levels of governance. The results
further highlight that unfair land acquisition, improper
displacement, mismanagement in compensation, etc.,
have caused negative impacts on local people and the
surrounded environment. The article further empha-
sizes governance issues and conflicts among different
actors due to the project. Finally, we recommend
several actions to prevent strong opposition and
conflicts in the infrastructural project in developing
countries, like the enhancement of the capacities and
the capabilities of the local population, the diffusion of
information and the involvement of stakeholders, and
the application of technical tools and devices.
Keywords Infrastructure Conflict Proximity
relations Superposition Pakistan
JEL Classification D74 H54 O16
Introduction
Superposition of land use expectations and competi-
tion over land uses for different projects have
produced conflicts, mainly due to ignorance of rights
(physical or social), forceful displacement, and
delayed justice (Magsi et al., 2017; Torre et al.,
2014; Wehrmann, 2008). The large development
projects especially the dams are directly proportionate
to the increase in the population (demand); but, mainly
affected agricultural lands (Ha et al., 2016), natural
resources (Ostrom & Nagendra, 2006), which has
H. Magsi (&)
Department of Agricultural Economics, Sindh Agriculture
University, Tandojam, Pakistan
e-mail: hmagsi@sau.edu.pk
M. Sabir
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of
Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan
e-mail: muazzam.sabir@uos.edu.pk
A. Torre
INRAE AgroParisTech, University Paris-Saclay, Paris,
France
e-mail: andre.torre@wanadoo.fr
A. A. Chandio (&)
College of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University,
Chengdu, China
e-mail: alichandio@sicau.edu.cn
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https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-021-10532-0(0123456789().,-volV)(0123456789().,-volV)
created frustrations in rural masses (Nu
¨sser, 2003).
Such oppositions encouraged them to unite and protest
for their rights, through voice attitudes (in the sense of
Hirschman, 1970), protestations, recourse to the
tribunals, or violent oppositions.
Theoretically, the land use conflicts are the result of
a lack of social justice and recognized rights in rural
areas (Ostrom, 1990), such conflicts are sparked more
when owners are forcibly dispossessed from natural
resources, i.e., land, water, or forests (Ostrom &
Nagendra, 2006; Tilt et al., 2009). According to the
welfare economic aspects of land use conflicts (social
welfare theory), the superposition of lands must not
depend on from one use to another use, on its efficient
distribution for the economic activities (Cheshire &
Vermeulen, 2009).
For assured agriculture in developing countries like
Pakistan, there is a need to store water; but, if the big
projects like dams are based on faulty planning, they
might generate social and environmental disputes
(Baghel & Nu
¨sser, 2010). Pakistan is an agricultural
country, meanwhile, it is also classified as a water-
scarce country, where water availability is less than
1000 cubic meters per person per year. In addition to
water scarcity, the electricity shortage urged the
authorities to focus on dam and reservoir projects
(GoP, 2020). A lot of people are being affected
socioeconomically by the land acquisition process
related to these projects, although the importance of
these dams and reservoirs cannot be ignored. The
government claimed that such projects in the past
raised the living standard of the people by providing
employment opportunities and development of the
affected area, but in fact, most of them led to low
living standards, poverty, and social instability (Magsi
& Torre, 2014). This raises a serious question over
Pakistani authorities for construction of Bhasha Dam,
the land acquisition of which is almost completed and
there exists a lot of conflicts among stakeholders,
badly affecting local people like projects in past (Sabir
et al., 2017).
This study tries to give the understanding of factors
responsible for the superposition and the competition
of land uses for large development projects and the
rural livelihood; particularly, it discusses the cases of
Chotiari and Bhasha dams of Pakistan. The research is
based on descriptive analysis where it points out the
factors of significant importance after in-depth inves-
tigation of flawed projects related to the construction
of dams. The main objective of the current study is to
find out the factors of controversies and to suggest
preventive measures for upcoming land use conflicts
in the country.
The first part of the article deals with the research
methodology and the description of both case studies.
The second one emphasizes the stakeholders’ involve-
ment, disagreements, and causes of the conflicts
related to the superposition of lands for both projects.
The third part accents the findings of both cases:
including the involvement of stakeholders, their
behaviors, the controversies, and conflicts created by
the dams. In the final part, we recommend the actions
to prevent strong opposition and conflicts in the
infrastructural project in developing countries; like-
wise, enhancement of the capacities and capabilities of
the local population, the diffusion of information, the
involvement of stakeholders, and the application of
technical tools and devices.
Methodological considerations
This section highlights the case studies, the sampling
procedure, the data sources, and the analytical mea-
sures. It also encompasses the methodological options
chosen in our research and provides some core
information about the two study zones.
Descriptive evidence of the construction projects:
Chotiari water reservoir and Diamer Bhasha dam
projects
Two large constructions—Chotiari and Diamer Bha-
sha Dams—were selected for this research, because of
their specific natures. The Chotiari Dam has already
been constructed, where the Diamer Bhasha dam
construction has recently started. The purpose of both
case studies was to see the factors which are causing
conflicts in large construction projects and how such
factors can be managed to minimize the occurrence of
future conflicts (Fig. 1).
Chotiari dam
The Chotiari reservoir project was constructed on over
18,000 hectares of land alongside the Indus Basin. It
was planned to increase the storage capacity of existed
lakes in the wetlands of Chotiari, aimed to store
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monsoon water for agriculture (GoP, 1998). In this
way, it could irrigate about 0.12 million hectares of
land of three districts including Sanghar, Shaheed
Benazirabad, and Mirpur Khas. The reservoir capacity
was enhanced to 0.75 Million Acre Feet (MAF) which
covers an area of approximately 160 square kilome-
ters. The project cost escalated from US $26.3 million
to US $105 million from its planned construction time
i.e., 1997 to the actual start of construction i.e., 2002
due to inefficient planning and mismanagement (Iqbal,
2004).
Diamer Bhasha dam
Diamer Bhasha dam was planned to overcome the
electricity and irrigation water shortages in the
country. The project was named based on its geo-
graphic location which is on the boundary of two
provinces ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’ (KPK) and ‘Gilgit
Baltistan’ (GB). Diamer is named after a district in
GB, while Bhasha is a village in KPK. Water and
Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is the main
institution in Pakistan responsible for the construction
of water reservoirs (with its other objectives). This
project was a part of its vision 2025. The feasibility of
this project was started in 2001 as a priority (Dawn,
2006). After completion of the Engineering design in
2008, the cost of the project was estimated at US
$13.684 billion and approved in 2012. Initially, the
World Bank and Asian Development Banks were
approached for the funding requirements of this
project, but no commitment has been received, either
may be due to less interest or maybe due to political
controversy between Pakistan and India. The project
has completed its land acquisition phase aftermath of
the China Pakistan Economics Corridor memoran-
dum; therefore, it covers an area of 110 Km
2
(GoP,
2013).
Data sources and analytical measures
For this research, primary and secondary data were
collected. The primary data was gathered through
interviews from experts and other stakeholders of
different backgrounds. They included administrators
(irrigation and water sectors), researchers, private
organizations, and legal experts to have their opinion
on different issues of the Chotiari and Bhasha dam
Fig. 1 Location of the Bhasha and the Chotiari dams. Source: Developed by the authors
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projects. To cover the conflict information in all
dimensions some directly affected households were
also interviewed. Finally, fifty interviews from each
project area were conducted (see Table 1).
The interviews were conducted with partially
designed questionnaires, from which some questions
were excluded to ask according to experts’ profes-
sional backgrounds. The main questions included
were: (1) situation before conflicts in the area and
position of the actors, (2) behavior of different
institutions in land acquisition and compensation
decision, and (3) the consequences of the projects.
Data from national and regional dailies and other
published literature on the selected projects were
included, because different studies have already used
such secondary sources for their data (see Awakul &
Ogunlana, 2002; Mann & Jeanneaux, 2009; Mahato &
Ogunlana, 2011; Torre et al., 2014) for the purpose of
cross checking the information from various sources
and ultimately better analysis (Deininger & Castag-
nini, 2006; McCarthy et al., 1996). In our cases,
different newspapers at the regional and national
levels were selected for identification of in-depth
conflict roots.
These news articles were selected based on differ-
ent socioeconomic issues and conflicts related to both
projects from the period of 1997 to 2016. Regional
dailies were collected through personal visits to
regional press offices as well as specific news cuttings
were collected from local community-based organi-
zation’s (CBOs) offices. Whereas the national dailies
were directly accessed through their websites. Deep
analysis of these newspapers has been conducted
along with the facts published by private and public
organizations. In this way, we hope to have obtained
nice information through different sources and
avoided too many biases.
Results and discussion: conflict and governance
failures
In this section, the findings of both cases are provided,
which include the involvement of the various stake-
holders and the behavior of the local population. The
section further highlights the controversies and oppo-
sitions created by the projects, where the management
flaws and governance system failures in both cases
have been envisaged.
The stakeholders
Both Chotiari and Bhasha dams have displaced the
local population at a large scale, while the people
reside in rural areas either depending on agriculture or
on fishing activities. Since both territories are laying
on the Indus basin, so most of the people are
depending on fishing, followed by grazing, agricul-
ture, etc. (see Table 2). In case of Chotiari, the fishing
communities were engaged with the ecology of the
lakes, where fishes were trapped outside the dams.
This kind of loss for the local fishing community was
not satisfactorily estimated or addressed by the
authorities.
The stakeholders keenly involved in both projects
were identified and classified according to their stakes,
e.g., local actors, personalities, market related agen-
cies, and institutions (see Table 3). The institutions
were operating from national to local levels, with
different political interests and positions. Particularly,
the instigators of the projects like Planning Commis-
sion, Ministry of Irrigation, WAPDA, SIDA, and local
leaders were in coalition with the single objective, ‘‘to
construct the reservoir’’.
Mostly the different stakeholders, with their differ-
ent stakes, were involved at different levels. For
example, in the Chotiari reservoir situation, it was
Table 1 Experts
interviewed Categories Interviewees
Chotiari Diamer Bhasha
Affected family heads and landlords 10 10
Administration (water and irrigation sector) 10 10
Local leaders/representatives 10 10
Researchers and legal experts 10 10
NGOs and journalists 10 10
Total 50 50
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observed that the relations between stakeholders and
local actors were not constructive, as local people
(principal actors) were either living in remote areas or
scattered in small tribes (GoP, 1998). However, they
neither had adequate information about the reservoir
construction, nor they were taken on board fully for
commencement (Iqbal, 2004). Therefore, the local
actors have opposed the reservoir construction deci-
sion; contrary, the public authorities (institutions)
have seemed in association with local politicians, and
the feudal had supported the decision. As a result of
that, the implementation of the project became con-
tentious and complicated.
In the case of Bhasha dam, various stakeholders
were operating with different stakes, but most of them
were interested in the compensation. Several issues
were seen among different stakeholders during differ-
ent project activities. First, land rate compensations
were decided after a severe bloody clash between the
government and affected people in which three people
died (Sabir et al., 2017). However, most of the
principal actors stated that this compensation amount
was decided under fear to avoid another bloody clash
with security forces. Local actors were ignored in
decision making in major project activities, along with
resettlement and employment decisions which further
turned into a source of tensions and conflicts.
Controversies and oppositions
Several development projects have created mistrust
and opposition in the developing countries, as most of
these projects lack the participation of local affected
people in decision making (Magsi et al., 2017). The
analysis of both selected case studies through primary
and secondary sources brought up the below men-
tioned root causes of conflicts. Moreover, we also
attempted to disclose the disputes among locals and
authorities by analyzing the behavior of authorities
during different phases of the project implementation.
We also emphasize the unity of affected people against
the project. These issues include corruption events,
fewer land compensations, nonpayment of compen-
sations, and the government’s decision of compensa-
tion payments to the selected people. Regarding these
issues, the affected people went for violent protests,
several times (Table 4).
Table 2 Descriptive statistics of the projects. Source: Extrcated from government published reports, and articles from news dailies
Damages Chotiari dam Bhasha dam
Location (province) South (Sindh) North (Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Displacement
Villages 47 32
Families 993 4228
Persons (directly affected) 8747 28,650
Main source of livelihood Fishing Agriculture/farming
Compensation Less than market value According to market value, but delay in payments
Literacy level of local
population
Very low Very low
Agricultural land submerged
(acres)
11,564 2660
Submergence of forest/trees Makhi forest (16 km
2
) 50,000
Submergence of Prehistoric
rock carvings (number)
– 33,000
Projections during feasibility
Electricity generation 4500 MW
Irrigation 0.75 MAF (not achieved so far) 6.4 MAF live storage of annual surface water
Employment Only during the construction of the project.
Local people worked as labor
Specifically to locals and afterwards in Agriculture,
industry and commercial sector
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During the Chotiari project, wrongdoings were
found in resettlement plans, land acquisition, and the
compensation process. The compensation was either
below the market values of the resource losses, or it
was delayed. The project has also affected the natural
resources around. For example, deforestation of Makhi
forest and enhancing stress on fauna and flora of the
area. Almost half of the land was unentitled while the
rest was entitled (private property), thus the question
of land compensation from the government remains
unsolved on such lands. This led local people to unite
for their causes. No CBOs were present in the area
before the start of the project. They arise because of
controversies in the project (Abro, 2001), like mis-
management in compensation, relocation as well as in
construction funds, environmental problems like
water logging, and risk to wildlife in the area.
Like in many rural areas of Pakistan the property is
being fragmented from ancestors in the Diamer
Bhasha dam locality. Thus, most of the households
did not have property papers to avail the compensation
of the resource loss as initially announced by the
government. The system of land management is in the
hands of land administrators called Patwaris,
1
who
were authorized by the government to prepare and
manage all the land records. Most of the area of
Bhasha dam is tribal, without the existence of the land
record and registration of market transactions were
unwritten. Based on our interviews with Diamer
Bhasha dam affectees, most of the conflicts were
linked with wrong measurement, elements of corrup-
tion, mismanagement, and cronyism. Corruption and
unofficial changes in the land record are common due
to the lack of access and reliability of land records of
Patwaris. While taking advantage of this, a few
Table 3 The stakeholders involved in the projects
Stakeholders Chotiari dam Bhasha dam
Principle actors (local
population)
Farmers
Livestock herders
Fishermen
Others (Government servants, mechanics, plumbers,
wood-cutters, poultry farmers, carpenters)
Farmers
Livestock herders
Social workers
Others (skilled and unskilled workers,
Government servants, Private businessmen)
Institutions
National Ministry of Irrigation
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
Planning commission of Pakistan—Pakistan
Environmental Protection Agency
Planning Commission of Pakistan
Water and Power Development Authority
(WAPDA)
Provincial Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
Sindh Forest Department (SFD)
Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA)
Sindh Wildlife Management Board
Journalists
Private consultants for Bhasha dam and other
related projects
Regional World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-City government City government
Local District Administration
Police
Chotiari Resettlement Agency (CRA)
Legal advisors
Police
Diamer Poverty Alleviation Program (NGO)
District Administration
Market related agencies Local Agro-based Industries (fish, milk, cotton, &
vegetable)
Powerful personalities
(interested for land
grabbing)
Local politicians (Locally elected personalities)
Local land-lords (Feudal)
Local land-lords (Feudal)
Local politicians (Locally elected
personalities)
1
Local land administrator/government official who keeps the
record of land ownerships.
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outside stakeholders have submitted fraudulent prop-
erty papers for land compensation. Another noticeable
conflict between the government and local affected
people is related to the category of land to be acquired
at some places. To provide compensation, the gov-
ernment has categorized lands as cultivated, cultivable
and barren. Local people complained about manipu-
lation of categories by the government from cultivable
to barren lands might be done to reduce the amount of
compensation.
Governance failures
In big infrastructural projects like dams, the proper
information dissemination of all reports at the public
level is an important and significant step right from the
start of the project to avoid the conflicts (Nolte, 2020).
In Pakistan, the capability of institutions for planning,
implementation, and monitoring to safeguard the
public interests is highly questionable (Nauman,
2003). In the Chotiari reservoir case, access to
information was not given to local people and their
participation was discouraged at most of the stages of
the project. On the other hand, the monetary and non-
monetary benefits from the project highlighted the
corruption and cronyism of bureaucrats and politi-
cians. Experts in the local area pointed out the failure
of bureaucrats and politicians in safeguarding the
public interests as they never stood by the side of local
people.
In the case of the Diamer Bhasha dam project, poor
governance has affected the socioeconomics of the
local population directly and indirectly. Mismanage-
ment and favoritism were observed in different land
acquisition activities, like fewer land measurements,
land allotment to favored persons, and manipulation in
land categories. Several groups of people were
discouraged to participate in the project activities
and benefit from the project because of ethnicity.
Further, several misconducts from governing bodies
put a negative impact on affected people. Some project
managers (government nominees) bought the land in
the project area before start of the construction and
thereafter they sold it to the government at much
Table 4 Conflicts highlighted by the daily regional press. Source: Extrcattion from regional dailies
Land use conflicts (linked with social, economic and environment) Chotiari water reservoir Diamer Bhasha Dam
Land use dimensions
Land acquisition HH
Water logging H
Poor compensation of land values HH
High cost of resettlement as compared to compensation amount H
Regional boundary issues H
Land ownership conflict among different groups of local population H
Social dimensions
Relocation/resettlement HH
Clash between police and local population HH
Fraud property dealing H
Delay in compensation payment HH
Biasness in employment opportunities and ineffective employment plans HH
Insufficient public consultation HH
Conflict due to impact on local culture H
Environmental dimensions
Land degradation due to water logging HH
Stress on flora and fauna H
Deforestation HH
Damage to prehistoric rock carvings H
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higher rates. Many developmental projects including
schools, hospitals were approved for the locally
affected area but executed in non-affected areas of
their own interest. Resettlement was delayed due to
disputed land for model villages and the construction
plan of these villages was not according to local
culture. Capacity building programs for employment
arranged by government authorities are poorly inter-
esting for local people due to their lower category job
nature, short training period, and less stipend. Con-
trary, the local people preferred cash compensation
rather trainings etc.
Moreover, besides compensating the local popula-
tion, the transboundary issue between two provinces,
i.e., Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was
also highlighted. In fact, before the declaration of the
Diamer Bhasha Dam project, the area was under the
control of the Gilgit Baltistan government and mostly
used as pastures and meadows. After the decision of
this project, the territory was claimed by the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa government.However, many experts
and stakeholders pointed out that this problem was
mainly generated because of the compensation from
its seven kilometers long territory and royalty from
electricity generation.
In summary, it is reasonable to say that governance
failures came to exist, as there was no planning and
participation of local people in the land acquisition
process, employment and resettlement plans, and
compensation decisions or lack of democratic control
over the planning and executing agencies of the
project.
Land use conflict prevention recommendations
for infrastructural projects in developing countries
like Pakistan
The risky and destructive nature of land conflicts
needs early prevention solutions, be there in Pakistan
or other developing countries. This step of conflicts
prevention could prove a valuable tool to limit future
tensions and the generation of conflicts that are linked
to the opposition of interests of different stakeholders
in the use of land. Below mentioned recommendations
came from the results obtained from selected case
studies, but they can be useful for conflict resolution in
the construction of big projects like dams and water
reservoirs especially in developing countries like
Pakistan.
Enhance the capacity and capabilities of the local
population
Our research points-out weaknesses in reaction of the
local population; especially, the problems related to
misinformation or lack of involvement are linked to
the low level of education of the local population and
their poor knowledge about public and institutional
mechanisms. In fact, developing skills among local
people is required: they could be helpful to understand
the pros and cons of the project, to give their opinion
and to negotiate their rights about land and other
resources with government, other public representa-
tives, and big firms. Several agencies might be helpful
in this regard including mainly NGOs and donor
agencies like Asian Development Bank. Moreover, the
involvement of local people in project activities and
public debate along with NGOs and media can further
help to make the project transparent. It can protect the
rights of affected people related to the provision of
compensations especially natural compensations,
resettlement, and employment opportunities accord-
ing to their culture, local traditions, and skills.
Improving the capabilities of local people through
education is an important step that gives them more
individualistic foundations so as they feel free to
choose from a wide variety of different opportunities
given to them through their environment and enhance
social justice (Sen, 1999). But empowerment
approaches are above all, in the sense of improving
the competencies and capabilities among affected
people to enhance the social linkages and experience-
based learning. These training and skill development
programs would enable them to take part in project
activities, to be informed at every stage, and be active
in setting new developmental plans (Scudder, 2005).
How to mobilize virtuous of proximities
and to avoid negative effects
We suggest that there is need to follow the legal
requirements in the sense that all the upcoming
proposals of the infrastructural projects and their
construction must pass through scrutiny under local
context and perspectives by a multidisciplinary team.
Following this, an open and unbiased procedure of
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participation of all stakeholders must be encouraged
with the ambition of the development of the area based
on common ideas and desires. Further, we also
recommend bringing in socioeconomic and environ-
mental measures to protect the social policy, to ensure
the rights of locals at least at a minimum level
according to the mandate of the project, and formulate
the main parameters for monitoring authorities which
were absent in case of Chotiari and Diamer Bhasha
dam projects (Magsi et al., 2017; Nolte, 2020;Nu
¨sser
& Baghel, 2017).
The formulation of the project must also evaluate
the geographical proximity among different stake-
holders which is the main component in land conflict
generation in different ways, including superposition
of interests, contiguity, and close neighborhood. After
that to mobilize the organized proximity particularly
the logic of belonging (Magsi & Torre, 2014). The
participation of local people is necessary, especially
the involvement of the poorest and day to day users of
land and natural resources (fishermen, farmers, and
herders) in the decision-making process based on their
desires and expectations. Then a better and successful
territorial governance could result in a network of
directly and indirectly affected people, which could
lead to socioeconomic and territorial development by
activating the organized proximity.
We also recognize the necessity of a governing
body for natural resources protection, which could
give different forms of mediation for socioeconomic
development. As it is the duty of the government
authorities to manage and enhance the protection of
livelihood as well as biodiversity by taking on board
the local communities and stakeholders, a neutral
party would carry out this task in a better way not only
from the start of the project but also on later stages.
Proximities of both types during this process should
be mobilized. Assessment of wanted and unwanted
proximities is necessary to differentiate the pro-
tectable and exploitable resources whether they are
forests, lakes or rich soils, or polluted areas and
unfertile grounds respectively according to the desires
of local people. After that, the leading governing
bodies should enhance the organized proximity among
various stakeholders from within the community to
build combined projects and future goals.
Technical tools and devices
A big project like dam brings major changes in land
use, selecting geographic location is the main element
in the construction process of big infrastructural
projects. It needs careful planning during the selection
of the location of the project by taking care of
socioeconomic and environmental criteria to avoid the
conflicts. In this regard territorial analysis, bench-
marking procedures, interviews, and group meetings
are required. We also recommend the need to reduce
asymmetry of power and guarantee attainable employ-
ment opportunities. Such ground level rules are
necessary for the setting of good governance processes
at the territorial level and safeguard the least possible
requirements of the local population (Torre & Traver-
sac, 2011).
The importance of developing technical solutions to
the problems faced by the implementation of major
infrastructure projects, particularly in the phases of
discussion with the population, must also be empha-
sized. Thus, the existence of semi-desired infrastruc-
tures (Torre et al., 2015) refers to situations in which it is
both necessary to find a solution to economic problems
but also to respond to the objections raised by these
projects. In order to remove reservations and objections,
it is also necessary to find technical solutions. For
example, in the case of dams, to ensure the quality of the
resettlement, to guarantee the availability of land in
other locations or to move remarkable sites for example.
At this price, large-scale projects become more accept-
able by populations who also perceive their interest in
economic and welfare terms.
Conclusion
Infrastructural conflictstake an increasing place in many
developing countries like Pakistan, related to the setting
of big infrastructures devoted to the requirements and
welfare of the local populations, but sometimes in
contradiction with their concrete wills.In this paper, two
cases of infrastructure development (Chotiari and
Diamer Bhasha Dams) from Pakistan were studied in
terms of superposition and oppositions of land use
expectations with their several elements of conflict
among various actors over territory and resources.
The qualitative data collected from both primary
and secondary sources show that the conflicts are
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mainly linked to the construction of the projects and
various economic, social, and environmental issues.
Both projects have hampered socioeconomics and
damaged natural resources, where such management
practices are being implemented in Pakistan for a long.
The livelihood of local populations was affected by
mismanagement, corruption, and favoritism of pay-
ment of the compensation. It is concluded that the
difference of opinion of the local population with the
public and private body in the process of decision
making created several conflicts among different
stakeholders from the local level to the national level.
Therefore, it was observed a lack of meaningful
territorial governance, which would have played a
vital part in forecasting and/or alleviating land use
conflicts. This seems like a trend in the decision-
making process of many developing countries; how-
ever, we do claim that the situation would be otherwise
radically different if various proximities i.e., geo-
graphical, and organized, are mobilized. Settling the
conflicting relationships among different stakeholders
related to the project is a great challenge in Pakistan,
but this matter needs a lot of debate in other parts of the
developing world as well. Strong governance is also
linked to strong negotiations among main stakehold-
ers, which requires capacity building so that a
sustainable and balanced natural resource use and
ecosystem must be managed. It is also linked with the
capabilities and the empowerment of the local popu-
lation to ensure their effective participation. Thus,
results of our cases studies suggested comprehensive
devices for developing policy recommendations to
avoid conflicts which can, in the same way, be applied
to other cases of the global south.
Acknowledgements The authors would like to acknowledge
the support from Pakistan Water and Power Development
Authority (WAPDA) and Sindh Irrigation and Drainage
Authority (SIDA) for dissemination of required information
for this study, and Dr. Salman. Atif for case study maps. The
authors also thank to the anonymous reviewers for their
constructive suggestions on earlier version of the article.
Author contributions HM: Conceptualization, Original draft
preparation, Data curation, Methodology, Software,
Visualization, Supervision. MS: Data curation, Validation,
Original draft preparation. AT: Critical review and Editing.
AAC: Reviewing and Editing, Supervision.
Funding No funding was received from conducting this study.
Data availability The data will be available on request.
Declarations
Conflict of interest The authors declare that there is no con-
flict of interest.
Informed consent Not applicable.
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