March 19, 2007

Forest dwellers of India losing their land to wind energy development

Add the Adavasis of India to the Zapotecas of Mexico, the Aborigines of Australia, and the Maori of New Zealand (not to mention rural and remote communities everywhere) on the list of indigenous peoples whose land and heritage is being taken by giant energy companies for the questionable fad of industrial wind energy (or rather the carbon credits they "generate" despite not producing useful energy that can actually displace other sources).

See the March 18 story from The Hindu at National Wind Watch:
Adivasis [forest-dwelling indigenous people] in Dhule district, Maharashtra, are protesting the diversion of forest land for wind power projects. About 340 hectares of forest land has been diverted for wind energy projects in Sakri taluka of Dhule district, promoted by Suzlon Energy Limited.

With the passing of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006, adivasis in Dhule as in other parts of the country were hopeful that the land they were tilling for years would be regularised in their names. In 1982, the first petition on regularising forest land in the name of adivasis was filed from Dhule by Karan Singh Kokani in the Supreme Court. Today Karan Singh, secretary of the Satyashodhak Gramin Kashtakari Sabha, says instead of giving adivasis the land, the government has allotted it to a private company. ...
A related piece by Praveen Bhargav about the destruction wrought in the name of clean energy was published in the March 14 Central Chronicle (also available at National Wind Watch):
Today, habitat fragmentation and its consequent 'edge effects' have been scientifically recognised as the primary cause for the destruction of biodiversity rich forests.

Yet, we continue to persist with a myopic, short-term exploitation perspective, which fails to recognise the immense and diverse long-term value of biodiversity rich landscapes.

In the absence of a clear land use policy, many development projects are pushed through without proper scrutiny. While projects like big dams and mining are more carefully scrutinised, those branded as 'clean and green' sneak in through the approval process. They then infiltrate into ecologically fragile landscapes and cause huge negative impacts. Environment Impact Assessments (EIAs) though mandatory, lack teeth. They are further reduced to a farce by EIA consultants who masquerade as environmentalists. The reports they rustle up are bereft of data. So projects get approved without proper analysis of their impacts. ...
wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, human rights