1500 MW Adani Project in Rajasthan Under HC Lens on land Allotment Issues

1500 MW Adani Project in Rajasthan Under HC Lens on land Allotment Issues

Acting on a petition by farmers in an affected village, the Rajasthan High Court has ordered for status quo on project land, pending the responses from various state agencies and further views on the issue.

The project in question is probably part of the MoU signed with Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited (RRECL), the Government of Rajasthan’s nodal agency for the development of non-conventional energy sources, to develop solar parks with a cumulative capacity of 10,000 MW in a phased manner. As part of the first phase Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Ltd (AREPRL) is developing a 500 MW capacity solar park in Bhadla, Jodhpur and a 1,500 MW capacity solar park in Fatehgarh, Jaisalmer.

The challenge has come from villagers in the district, who claim that that the 990 hectares of land allotted for the project is actually agricultural land whose status was changed illegally to barren land in 2017 to enable the allotment. A further issue was that land could not be allotted to a private player, as state laws allow allotment only to state agencies.

The petition also claims that the land is part of the area considered  as habitat for the Great Indian Bustard, the state bird of Rajasthan, and a protected species in India.

Incidentally, a single judge bench of the same High Court had given a go ahead to the project earlier. The court will now await responses from the Adani Group, State government and other officials at the next hearing on September 29.

While challenges to land use are not uncommon at all in India, the sheer scale of land involved in solar projects, and the pressure and legal need to use only barren land, will make this a continuing challenge for the sector. As not just land, even availability and extraction of resources like water in such arid areas can create friction with local people.

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