A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Gujarat High Court has challenged the allotment of gauchar land (grazing plots) for two windmill projects in Kutch. The petition states that this is in violation of earlier orders of both the Supreme Court and the High Court.
It alleged that the allotment is in violation of the provisions of the land revenue code and the Panchayat Act to preserve gauchar land. The petitioner has also stated that the land was allotted without carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
A division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy has issued notices to all the parties concerned, including the two private windmill companies.
The petition has argued that erecting windmills result in the reduction of gauchar land, thus affecting animal husbandry in the entire region. It said unavailability or poor availability of gauchar land is what forced cattle owners to let their cattle roam on roads leading to nuisance. It further argued that setting up windmills would require a large parcel of land, which will not only affect the setup areas but also render the nearby areas unfit for cultivation in the long run.
The petition has sought a stay on further construction activity, which, if allowed to continue, will cause irreversible damage to the local ecosystem. It has also sought for quashing the order under which the land was allotted to the two companies.
It has also sought that the erection of windmills in areas adjoining agricultural lands be declared as unconstitutional and illegal.
The petitioner presented the allotment orders for lands situated in Vavdi and Varli in Bhuj to. It stated that such allocation is happening all over Kutch and is being widely objected by locals.