As Jaisalmer villagers fight for sacred grove, a larger question looms -Aastha Maggu

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published Published on Jul 27, 2020   modified Modified on Jul 29, 2020

-Down to Earth

Allocation of village land for the development of solar and wind parks at the cost of pasture land is detrimental for villages

Residents of Devikot village in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district are fighting to protect a sacred grove that caters to the forage requirements of more than 35,000 large and small animals in the area.

Sacred groves are areas of natural vegetation protected by village communities due to religious reasons. Historically, villages surrounding Devikot have maintained and protected this land.

The grove around the Degrai Mata temple was allocated for community use by Jaisalmer’s king in the 16th century.

In 2004, villagers received approximately 5,817 hectares of land registered in the name of the temple.

The villagers submitted a memorandum to Jaisalmer’s district collector June 2020 to register the remaining 9,358 hectares of land in the name of Degrai Mata Temple Trust.

The Rajasthan government now, however — in an attempt to adopt cleaner sources of energy — is planning a solar park in the area.

The allocation of village land for the development of solar and wind parks has begun in Jaisalmer and neighbouring districts Barmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur as well. Some of these village pasture lands were misidentified as wastelands by the state government.

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Down to Earth, 27 July, 2020,

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