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Village residents protest acquisition of pasture lands for solar plant in Tamil Nadu

Reported by

Viswanathan Sridhar

Legal Review by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee, Anupa Sagar Kujur

Updated by

Updated by

Raju KK

Published on

May 24, 2023

July 15, 2024

Edited on

May 24, 2023

Sector

Power

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Renewable Power

Loss of livelihood for farmers of other villages

Starting Year

2022

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

134

ha

Households Affected by Conflict

625

People Affected by Conflict

3000

State

Tamil Nadu

Sector

Power

People Affected by Conflict

3000

Households Affected by Conflict

625

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

134

ha

Starting Year

2022

Location of Conflict

Alavanthankulam, Pallikottai Village Panchayat, Mannur Taluk

Thalaiyoothu, Thenkalam, Nallammalpuram, Thenkalamputhoor, Pallikottai, Pallamadai, Nanjankulam, Puliyankottaram and Venkalapottal

Tirunelveli

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Renewable Power

Loss of livelihood for farmers of other villages

Land Conflict Summary

In October 2022, residents of Alvanthankulam and six other villages came together to protest against a solar power plant that was proposed to be set up in those villages of Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

In July 2022, the Tamil Nadu government released a gazette notification for acquiring lands owned by members of the Scheduled Caste community of the village for setting up a greenfield 4GW Solar Cell and 4GW Solar Module manufacturing plant in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. The Rs 3,500-crore plant by the Tata Power was proposed to be set up on 1,500 acres, the acquisition of 329.92 acres of Panchami lands. The community members alleged that these Panchami lands are primarily used for grazing by cattle and other livestock and it was allegedly handed over to members of the Scheduled Caste by the British in 1892.

Since the economy of livestock sustained several livelihoods in the area, community members expressed concern about the disruption that the project might cause on their source of income. During the protest, residents of seven villages demanded the government to call off the project and withdraw the gazette notification issued for land acquisition.

On 7 September 2023, C Anand Raj from Madurai petitioned Malur taluk's Tahsildar regarding the land rights of the Scheduled Caste community over 'Panchami lands' and impacts of the proposed Solar Module manufacturing plant by Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited. After getting no response from Tahsildar, he filed a case in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on 29 September, 2023. Following which, the court directed the Tirunelveli District Collector to dispose of a representation made against the land acquisition.

On 15 August and 2 October 2023, the Pallikottai village panchayat’s gram sabha passed two resolutions against grazing land acquisition. 

District Collector KP Karthikeyan, in a response dated 3 January 2024, stated that the land in question was not a Panchami land. He added that only 342.18 acres out of the total 406.97 acres would be acquired for the project and the remaining 64.79 acres would be enough for grazing. The reply stated it was a barren land with no agricultural activity happening for over 30 years.

The petitioner, however, told the court thad residents of Pallikottai, Nellaithiruthu, Pirancheri, Thenkalam Puthur, Rajapathi, Chittar Chatram, Gangaikondan, Thuraiyur and Alavanthankulam were using the land for grazing.

On 26 January 2024, 3,000 families from Alavanthankulam and surrounding village in Tirunelveli district staged black flag protest against the land acquisition of the community grazing lands. More than 20,000 families from 10 villagers are likely to be affected by this project. The company has proposed to provide 2,000 jobs.

Despite the protest, the project is ongoing and is expected to completed by 2024-2025.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to cancel the project

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Abandon Land Acquiring process and take back the Gazette Notification

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Project underway despite protests

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

No

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Grazing, Agricultural land

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

3500

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

2022

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997
Section 3 [State government may acquire land after publishing notice in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette. State Government must call the land owner or interested parties before publishing the notice. The parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard.]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Under Part II, section 9 of the Tamil Nadu Land Acquisition Laws (Revival of Operation, Amendment and Validation) Act, 2019 only the compensation part of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 is enacted and all the other process of the land acquisition is proceeded with Tamil Nadu Land Acquisition Laws (Revival of Operation, Amendment and Validation) Act, 2019
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

W.P.(MD)No.24104 of 2023

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Madurai bench of Madras Hight court directed the District Collector to act on petition made on 07.09.2024 as per law

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Blockades

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Land occupation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District Administration, Panchayat Administration (Village), Tamil Nadu Industries Department, Tamil Nadu Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Tata Power, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (funding)

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Dalit communities whose lands were due to be acquired

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Images

Alavanthankulam Cattle grazing land in conflict

Image Credit:  

Vignesh A, 101Reporters

Image Credit:  

Video

Sumar TV (youtube)

In October 2022, residents of Alvanthankulam and six other villages came together to protest against a solar power plant that was proposed to be set up in those villages of Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

In July 2022, the Tamil Nadu government released a gazette notification for acquiring lands owned by members of the Scheduled Caste community of the village for setting up a greenfield 4GW Solar Cell and 4GW Solar Module manufacturing plant in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. The Rs 3,500-crore plant by the Tata Power was proposed to be set up on 1,500 acres, the acquisition of 329.92 acres of Panchami lands. The community members alleged that these Panchami lands are primarily used for grazing by cattle and other livestock and it was allegedly handed over to members of the Scheduled Caste by the British in 1892.

Since the economy of livestock sustained several livelihoods in the area, community members expressed concern about the disruption that the project might cause on their source of income. During the protest, residents of seven villages demanded the government to call off the project and withdraw the gazette notification issued for land acquisition.

On 7 September 2023, C Anand Raj from Madurai petitioned Malur taluk's Tahsildar regarding the land rights of the Scheduled Caste community over 'Panchami lands' and impacts of the proposed Solar Module manufacturing plant by Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited. After getting no response from Tahsildar, he filed a case in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on 29 September, 2023. Following which, the court directed the Tirunelveli District Collector to dispose of a representation made against the land acquisition.

On 15 August and 2 October 2023, the Pallikottai village panchayat’s gram sabha passed two resolutions against grazing land acquisition. 

District Collector KP Karthikeyan, in a response dated 3 January 2024, stated that the land in question was not a Panchami land. He added that only 342.18 acres out of the total 406.97 acres would be acquired for the project and the remaining 64.79 acres would be enough for grazing. The reply stated it was a barren land with no agricultural activity happening for over 30 years.

The petitioner, however, told the court thad residents of Pallikottai, Nellaithiruthu, Pirancheri, Thenkalam Puthur, Rajapathi, Chittar Chatram, Gangaikondan, Thuraiyur and Alavanthankulam were using the land for grazing.

On 26 January 2024, 3,000 families from Alavanthankulam and surrounding village in Tirunelveli district staged black flag protest against the land acquisition of the community grazing lands. More than 20,000 families from 10 villagers are likely to be affected by this project. The company has proposed to provide 2,000 jobs.

Despite the protest, the project is ongoing and is expected to completed by 2024-2025.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to cancel the project

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Abandon Land Acquiring process and take back the Gazette Notification

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

3500

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

2022

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997
Section 3 [State government may acquire land after publishing notice in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette. State Government must call the land owner or interested parties before publishing the notice. The parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard.]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Under Part II, section 9 of the Tamil Nadu Land Acquisition Laws (Revival of Operation, Amendment and Validation) Act, 2019 only the compensation part of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 is enacted and all the other process of the land acquisition is proceeded with Tamil Nadu Land Acquisition Laws (Revival of Operation, Amendment and Validation) Act, 2019
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

W.P.(MD)No.24104 of 2023

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Madurai bench of Madras Hight court directed the District Collector to act on petition made on 07.09.2024 as per law

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Blockades

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Land occupation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District Administration, Panchayat Administration (Village), Tamil Nadu Industries Department, Tamil Nadu Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Tata Power, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (funding)

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Dalit communities whose lands were due to be acquired

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
Alavanthankulam Cattle grazing land in conflict

Alavanthankulam Cattle grazing land in conflict

Image Credit:  

Vignesh A, 101Reporters

Alavanthankulam Cattle grazing land in conflict

Image Credit:  

Sumar TV (youtube)

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

Other Land Conflicts in Tamil Nadu

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