Rai’s tentative research topic is “Hydropower Development in the Face of Climate Change and Issues of Adaptation in the Upper Teesta Catchment of the Sikkim Himalaya”. His research will focus on how hydropower projects along the Teesta River Basin are making the region environmentally insecure. He will be using frameworks of environmental security with a special focus on rural people who are directly or indirectly dependent on river water for agriculture and household purposes. His paper will seek to understand local perceptions of climate variability (seasonal variations like rainfall, precipitation, and heat), its impacts on their livelihoods, and issues of local adaptation.
While a Master’s student at Sikkim University (2013-15), Rai worked on issues of transboundary water resource conflict on the Teesta River Basin, specifically focusing on the conflict between India (Sikkim, West Bengal) and Bangladesh.