Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gir village to light up after 69 years

(Representative image)(Representative image)

| Nov 24, 2016, 06.34 AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Sixty-nine years after Independence, residents of Zankhiya village in Gir sanctuary, the last abode of the Asiatic lions, will get electricity connections and basic amenities.
However, this would not have been possible without an order from Gujarat high court (HC), which has directed the authorities to complete all formalities and finish the project in six months so that the villagers can get power supply for residential and agriculture purpose. This could be made possible through 10 years of incessant efforts by the villagers to secure basic amenities for themselves in this forest area. Interestingly, a decade ago, the state government declared that it had achieved 100% electrification in the state under the Jyotirgram Yojna.

Zankhiya, one of the nine villages in forest settlement area in the western region of Gir, tried hard to get power supply . Five villagers moved the HC in 2014. Later, the process for acquiring permissions from concerned authorities was put on a fast track after the HC observed that the progress was at "snail's pace". The standing council of National Board of Wildlife granted permission in March to lay 11KV overhead electric line. The nod was given on the ground that the proposal for electrification was "for a public utility of no impact on the wildlife of the area".

In its permission, the National Board of Wildlife asked the state authorities to ensure that no dama ge sho uld be cau sed to flora and fauna and insu lated cable should be used for transmission line. It also ordered that the labour camp during the project should be kept outside the sanctuary , that fuel and other requirement be met with by purchaser from the market and that the sanctuary must not be burdened.

The Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd told the HC that it had no objection in carrying out the project. After hearing the case, Justice R M Chhaya

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