The High Court in April last year had restrained the government from issuing any final notification in this regard.
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary The proposal was floated to reduce eco-sensitive zone from 3.32 lakh hectares to 1.14 lakh hectare - File Photo
During the hearing of the PIL on Thursday, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice AS Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav clarified that no case was made out for vacating the interim relief granted to the petitioner. While the state government had already submitted its reply in the case attributing the decision to reduce the area under eco-sensitive zone to objections received by local residents, the counsel for the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, argued that the notifications issued by it are based on settled guidelines and as per the proposal of the states.
Following the brief submission, the court adjourned the case till June 19, when it will be taken up for final hearing.
Through the PIL, the petitioner, Biren Padhya, has questioned the state's intention to reduce eco-sensitive zone for Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park from 3.32 lakh hectares to 1.14 lakh hectares. Padhya has also contended that if the state's proposal is implemented, the area of the eco-sensitive zone which is minimum 8 km and maximum 17 km will be reduced to just 500 meters at several locations, extending up to a maximum of 4 km from the sanctuary.
- Petitioner Biren
Pandhya contended that the reduction of the eco-sensitive zone may prove
detrimental to the population of Asiatic Lions in the area and is being
done due to the pressure exerted by the tourism and mining lobby.