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Type: Journal article
Title: Water management in post-colonial Darjeeling: the promise and limits of decentralised resource provision
Author: Drew, G.
Rai, R.
Citation: Asian Studies Review, 2016; 40(3):321-339
Publisher: Routledge- Taylor and Francis
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1035-7823
Statement of
Georgina Drew & Roshan P. Rai
Abstract: Water crises are spreading across the length of South Asia at an alarming rate, and some of the pockets of stress include unexpected locations such as Darjeeling, West Bengal, where rainfall is plentiful. This article explores the problems of post-colonial water management in the former British hill station to illuminate the prospects for integrated resource provision. We argue that to improve the scope of water distribution and provision, post-colonial townships such as Darjeeling need to acknowledge and address the multiple ways in which people get water from the centralised supply as well as the decentralised solutions that have arisen through community organisation in collectives known as samaj. Notably, the samaj have a distinct character based on histories of colonial neglect that prompted villages throughout the Darjeeling region to solve socioeconomic problems independently of centralised systems. The discussion overlaps the numerous resource pathways with the plethora of social and political organisations operating in Darjeeling to argue that municipalities would do well to harness the varied ways in which water flows through the township. Integrated within larger questions of sustainable development in India’s urbanising townships, the text offers a glimpse into the possibilities for more holistic and equitable water management.
Keywords: Water management; postcolonial infrastructure; centralisation; decentralisation; community organisation; Darjeeling water management.
Rights: © 2016 Asian Studies Association of Australia
DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2016.1192580
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Anthropology & Development Studies publications
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