7 Nellai villages not to celebrate Deepavali to protest solar project

Opposing the project, their concerns were already represented through petitions to the District Collector and also to the Chief Minister’s special cell, but there’s no action, he said.
Alavanthankulam villagers showing black flags against taking over of grazing lands for solar project on Sunday.
Alavanthankulam villagers showing black flags against taking over of grazing lands for solar project on Sunday.

MADURAI: Several people from seven villages, including Alavanthankulam in Manur taluk of Tirunelveli district called for boycott of Deepavali festival against the proposed solar panel project by a corporate entity there.

Many from these villages claimed that they have been relying on cattle rearing and dairy farming for their livelihood and income and if the project materialises, their future would remain bleak.

M Viyagappan, village leader, Alavanthankulam, said the government came forward to acquire as many as 1,200 acres of lands from rural and agrarian areas for private players to set up solar plants and for further industrial developments under SIPCOT in the district.

Of these lands proposed to be acquired for the solar project, the District Administration during January this year issued notification to acquire 500 acres of land from nine villages, including Alvanthankulam, Thenkalam, Nallamalpuram, Thenkalam Pudur, Pallikottai, Pallamadai, Puliyankottaram, Nanjankulam and Venkalapottal.

Of these 500 acres, large chunks of land numbering 335 acres were categorized as ‘panchami’ lands of the local community at Alavanthankulam village.

Condemning the move, several people staged black flag protest at Alavanthankulam and black flags were also put up in houses at the village urging the need to drop the proposed project.

Opposing the project, their concerns were already represented through petitions to the District Collector and also to the Chief Minister’s special cell, but there’s no action, he said.

There are around eight hundred families at Alavanthankulam largely relying on dairy farming and cattle rearing and this village is a major player in the dairy market with a milk production of 2,500 litres a day. Alavanthankulam, a cattle hub, created a trend towards dairy farming and the surrounding villages followed suit, the village leader said.

Mohan from Thenkalam said the move would certainly affect the livelihoods of 20,000 families relying on around one lakh cattle in all these villages if the fertile grazing lands became unproductive wastelands by implementing the solar power project.

Alavanthankulam villagers showing black flags against taking over of grazing lands for solar project on Sunday.
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