How solar farms fuel land conflicts
India’s solar dreams require large tracts of land. Now, rural communities are pushing back
In the absence of a legal framework to resolve disputes, conflicts rage on. The problem is showing up in the govt’s bid to promote solar parks because they need large tracts of land
About two years ago, when Chanesar Khan first heard that a company will build a new solar park spread over 989 hectares of land, which he and others in western India’s Nedan village had been using to grow food and to graze their animals, he boarded a bus to meet a lawyer in Jaisalmer district—80km away. Together, over the next couple of months, they organized fellow villagers and filed a petition in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the allotment of the land to the plant. Around the same time, one Barkat Khan, along with another set of villagers in Nedan, filed a similar petition in the court.