Charul Shah: DNA: AHMEDABAD: 20,April 2011,
Agarias and salt industries near the Wild Ass Sanctuary issued show-cause notices by state govt.
Soon, all salt manufacturing units in the Little Rann of Kutch that come within 1 km of the wild ass sanctuary, may face closure by the forest department. The department has already begun proceedings by issuing notices through the revenue department to all salt manufacturing industries and to the local agarias (salt farmers) of Malia region, district Rajkot.
As per the show cause notice, dated April 8, the state government has asked nearby salt manufacturing companies why their units should not be closed or ordered to shift to another locality. Moreover, under the said notice, the government has asked the salt manufacturing units to put forth replies and reasoning against the notice on Tuesday, failing which the state would take appropriate steps in accordance with the law.
The notice further mandates stoppage of all mining and industrial activities around 1 km of the famous sanctuary. Notices by the state government have already been issued to this effect. Sanctuary status was assigned to the area in the Rann by wildlife protection notification, 1972.
In order to officially declare any area protected, which would be required for a sanctuary, a survey of the land as stipulated by the Wildlife Protection Act has to be conducted. Sources from the mamlatdar's office told DNA that the forest department and the state government have begun this survey. The officials have started it in Malia district and as they proceed, they will go on issuing notices to all units that they find to be in the proximity of the proposed wildlife sanctuary.
DU Jadeja, president, Marine Salt Manufacturers Association (MSMA) and vice-president of the Indian Salt Manufacturers Association (ISMA), told DNA that apart from the local agarias, as many as 25 small and big salt manufacturers have been issued notice and asked to file their reply on Tuesday.
"The manufacturers have, apart from registering their objections to the notices, sought the copies of the maps of the sanctuary and government notification copies based on which the government has issued the notices. The mamlatdar has, after receiving the copy of the application, adjourned the hearing to April 21," Jadeja added.