Thursday, July 31, 2014
Stop grass cutting in Gir, HC directs chief conservator.
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Monday directed the chief conservator of forest to redress the issues of people residing near the Gir wildlife sanctuary.
In response to a PIL filed by Amreli-resident Nuruddin Chavda, the court has given four-week time to the foresters to deal with the issues like cutting of grass in the protected areas, which forces lions' prey base and subsequently big cats to move out of the sanctuary.
The petitioner raised several problems. Besides removal of grass, he also raised the issue of corruption, laxity on part of the forest department's staff and illegal encroachment in Karamdadi forest area of Dhari range.
Chavda submitted before the HC that the illegal cutting of grass from reserve forest area results in migration of animals that are prey base of lions. The forest officials do not stop this activity despite the knowledge that scarcity of grass forces other animals and resultantly the lions to come out of the protected area.
The petitioner has alleged corruption in construction of boundary wall. He claimed that there is deviation in implementation of the Sanctuary Park project due to the poor quality of construction of boundary walls.
The petitioner also highlighted a case of suspicious death of a lioness in forest area. The carcass was not disposed of for nearly three weeks. Despite complaints, no FSL reports were obtained by the forest department to ascertain reasons for the death.
Chavda has complained that the forest officials do not part with information even if it is repeatedly sought under the RTI Act. As they managed to keep their affairs secret from public knowledge, huge public money spent over this sanctuary goes to waste.