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Gold Rush greed behind Attappadi windmill land grab  

Credit:  By Sanjay Chandrasekha, manoramaonline.com 19 December 2010 ~~

Palakkad: The interest of the real estate and jewellery firms in Attappady land seems to have originated after Geological Survey of India found evidence of gold deposits in the region.

GSI confirmed gold deposits in Agali, Kottathara and Sholayoor villages in 2005 after a preliminary survey. It is in these villages that the fraudulent grabbing of tribal land took place in the name of a wind energy project.

While Suzlon Wind Energy came to Attappady with the project to Attappadi in 2007 several real estate firms from North Indian states followed suit. Atleast half of the 31 windmills in Attappadi region belongs to big jewellery groups.

A Mumbai based company into gem and jewellery business has five windmills in Attapadi. Another major jewellery group which has branches in and outside Kerala has 10 windmills.

A part of the land purchased illegally by Sarjan Realties in flagrant violation of Land Reforms Act was resold to jewellery and real estate groups for setting up windmills. All the windmills owned by Suzlon has now been resold to other firms. The power generated here is purchased by the Kerala State Electricity Board at rate of Rs 3.14 per unit.

Sarjan Realties which purchased 374.48 acres of land in three villages resold the land as 31 plots of 1.2 acres to various jewellery groups. The report by Chief Secretary which probed the land grab found that Sarjan Realties still owns 337.28 acres of land.

While a windmill requires only 1.2 acres of land and 31 windmills would require only 37.2 acres. Even if we take it for granted that windmills require atleast five acres of land the 31 windmills would need only a total of 155 acres of land. This being the case it is unclear why the firm is sitting on such a huge tract of land.

Anert gave permission to Suzlon to build 16 windmills in five separate orders in the period 200-2008. Sarjan Realties was also granted permission for building 15 windmills during the same period through four separete orders. These windmills were then resold to others.

While a total of 31 windmills were set up only 23 of them are functional according to a report by Anert. The windmills were set up without obtaining a license from the Panchayat to do so. Eigh windmills are yet to sign power purchase agreement with the KSEB.

While Anert granted permission for both Suzlon and Sarjan Realties to set up windmills the entire land was purchased by Sarjan Realties.

Source:  By Sanjay Chandrasekha, manoramaonline.com 19 December 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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