Wind farms signal decline of agriculture in southern India

By: Priyanka Shankar

The Muppandal wind farm that features turbines from many private players was developed by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA). The wind turbines here are some of the oldest turbines in the country. What makes Muppandal a great site to install wind turbines is the geographical location that receives uniquely powerful winds from the Arabian Sea.

There are also many wind farms, scattered across different villages in the Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts. For better or for worse, these farms have certainly brought winds of change for the people and the local economy.

Over three decades, a lot has changed in this region of the southern Indian coastal state.

The villages here were once predominantly dependent on agriculture. Groundnut, sesame, corn, and millets would grow in abundance. Gradually, the wind turbines mushroomed. The wind farms grew in acreages in and around Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts.

They found kinship with the land and continued to expand. Land prices soared giving way to infrastructure development and improved lifestyles. People sold their farming lands during this period to make profits. Occupations changed over the years and now, stories about agriculture that once flourished in the region, cascade through generations.