Monday, March 30, 2015
HC seeks report on ‘mining fires’ along Shetrunji riverbank.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Friday sought details from forest officials about incidents of fire, if any, caused by the mining mafia on the banks of Shetrunji river near Gir sanctuary for mining activity. Fire creates a lot of trouble for the wildlife in the protected area which is the last abode of the Asiatic lion.
The high court has also asked the commissioner of mining and geology to report about the area with the sketch where excavation of sand in Shetrunji river has been permitted. The high court also issued notice to Amreli district collector.
The HC acted on a PIL filed by Surat-based businessman Rajkumar Sutaria. He has alleged that indiscriminate sand mining activity is taking place in the Shetrunji riverbed just outside the eco-sensitive zone of Gir National Park and Sanctuary.
The petitioner submitted that workers involved in sand mining are afraid of the wild animals coming to the river and to keep them at bay, they light fire which in turn threatens the wildlife. He cited a Supreme Court order directing the governments to restrain mining activity within 1km radius of such prohibited forest. It further directed to declare 10km radius area as eco-sensitive zone.
After citing the SC order, Sutaria has contended that despite such position the state government granted permission for mining activity in the riverbed near the sanctuary, and this should be stopped immediately.
The HC has kept further hearing on March 27.
Meanwhile, the HC has also directed the authorities of three districts to take action against those who indulge in commercial activity by opening hotels and resorts in their agricultural land around Gir sanctuary. The electricity department has initiated taking action against such property owners who illegally run hospitality units in the buffer zone.
Many such property owners have moved the HC complaining against the action taken by the authorities. Some have even claimed that they have the requisite permission to run such units. The HC has asked the government to respond to their claims by March 26.