Charul Shah; DNA; Friday , April 22 , 2011,
The Agarias of Malia, Rajkot on Thursday filed their reply to the notices given by the mamlatdar to close down their salt manufacturing units which come within an area of 1 km around the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch. They have asked the government to drop the proceeding as it is illegal, otherwise they will move the Gujarat high court challenging such actions.
In the reply filed through Agaria Heet Rakshak Manch, they have stated that the government has not yet completed the procedure for survey settlement. Hence, the final boundary of the sanctuary is also not yet finalised. In such circumstances, the issuance of such notice is against the process of law. Hence, they have stated that if this proceeding is not dropped, they will move the high court.
In their reply, they have further stated that as per the notification of the Social Justice and Empowerment department of the state government, the Agarias are included in the de-notified and nomadic tribes. As they depend on salt manufacturing units for their livelihood, they have collective rights of livelihood in and around the areas of Little Rann of Kutch. Hence, the government cannot take away these rights and ask them to close down their activities under any other Act.
They further explained that they had been involved in salt manufacturing in this area for ages, and thousands of Agarias depend on this for their livelihood. These activities have not damaged or caused any danger to the wild life in the LRK nor have they caused any pollution. In fact, the Agarias have provided protection to the wild life around the Rann. The reply further states that as per the records, the population of the wild ass in the area has increased over the years. As per the records of January, 1993 their population was 720, which has increased to 5000 in 2010. Meanwhile, the government on Thursday provided a copy of the documents as demanded by the salt manufacturers who were served with the notice. The documents include the revenue map.