November 23, 2023
This is in tune with Ashok Gehlot govt's efforts to position itself as a leader of India’s green energy transition in the last 5 yrs. Most of the #RenewableEnergyProjects have come up in western Rajasthan, which boasts some of the big faces from state & national politics.
Our fellow @sukriti_vats
visited Jaisalmer, a major hub of solar and wind energy projects in the state. She found angry villagers accusing the government of favouring private power companies and blatantly disregarding their land rights.
Residents of Dawara village claim that their cultivable land was forcibly leased out. This also left them without common resources like gochar (grazing land), agor (water catchment areas), talab (ponds) and roads connecting other villages.
According to the #LandConflictWatch database, of the 23 conflicts around solar and wind energy projects documented across India, the maximum (seven) were from Rajasthan. Most were in the districts of Barmer, Sum, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer
While these solar and wind energy projects are hailed for bringing investment and employment, people on the ground complained about how the jobs excluded villagers who were promised employment.
“We've been betrayed. The company people called us for a meeting, assuring good things for village with no mention of project. They didn’t just take away our cultivable land but they didn’t give us any jobs,” said Tarachand Paliwal, an angry local from Rewadi village
Behra Ram, sarpanch of another village, Dawara, claimed that the company took 7.16 hectares of land where he had claimed settlement rights as it had been in his family for generations.
“I filed a case in the high court as my khatedari (ancestral agricultural tenancy) land was wrongly recorded in revenue records as government land. Even though the case is ongoing, the company took land without my consent,” he told @frontline_india