The Rajasthan High Court has canceled the allotment of public utility land measuring 1,452 bighas (581.56 acres) near Pokhran in Jaisalmer to the Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan (AREPRL).
According to Mercom’s sources, the Adani Renewable Energy Park has two land parcels totaling about 13,000 bighas (8,125 acres) near Pokhran in Jaisalmer. The petition involves around 6,115 bighas (3,821 acres) falling under the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) conservation area in Rajasthan.
The Rajasthan High Court’s division bench has also directed the state government to survey the land parcels allotted to Adani and Essel Surya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited in three villages — Naden, Ugras, and Nagnechinagar.
The court also ordered to revoke the allotment of these lands in case any part of it was allocated on public utilities.
The court further noted that the state government would also review the land allocation around the plots of the petitioners, other khatedar tenants (a tenant recognized under the Rajasthan Tenancy, 1955), and the land of public utilities. The review aims to ensure that their rights are not infringed on account of land allotments to Essel and Adani.
The court also ordered that the space for the approach road to the lands of khatedar tenants and the hutments of the village’s inhabitants would be specifically set apart and entered in the revenue record for the said purpose.
The court ordered that the state government complete the entire exercise within six weeks from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order.
Rajasthan government had allocated the land to Adani in 2018. The parcel in question was a stretch of land in Nedan village of Pokhran village and sold to the Adani group company at around ₹135 million (~$1.77 million). Farmers at the Nedan village challenged this land allocation.
According to recent reports, the parcel was earlier marked as agricultural land, which was listed as barren land through an executive order on May 30, 2017, allowing the state to hand it over to Adani for the solar park.
The farmers objected to the allocation since, as per rule, lands reserved for cultivation cannot be allotted for any other purposes. They insisted that the entire 3,821 acres were neither wasteland nor barren. Farmers have been cultivating the land for several years, the petition claimed.
The petitioners also objected to the allocation as it may have a fatal impact on the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard in the region. The land in question is adjacent to Rasla village, known as Rasla Park, reserved for conserving endangered species.
In April this year, the Supreme Court of India directed the appropriate authorities to install diverters in the habitats of the Great Indian Bustard and convert the overhead cables to underground powerlines wherever feasible. The conversion to underground powerlines should be completed within one year from the date of the order, and until such time the diverters should be hung from the existing powerlines.
In February 2019 too, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had issued a circular to retrofit transmission lines and wind turbines to avoid bird collision in Great Indian Bustard habitats of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.