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Gujarat high court seeks reply from the state over allotment of Gir Sanctuary land for gas pipeline

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The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government and State Board for Wildlife to file a reply regarding its decision to allot land from Gir Sanctuary to lay the gas pipeline, oil, and optical fibers.

A Suo Moto PIL before the Gujarat High Court has sought a direction to the state not to divert (allot) 150 hectare of land from Gir Sanctuary to railways for broad gauge and track electrification projects. 

It also sought cancellation of allotment of land from Gir Sanctuary for gas and oil pipeline and optical fibers.

The application further stated that the matter pertains to harassment of lions in and around Gir Forest and should be heard in subordinate courts on a fast track basis. 

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It further alleged that the state has already approved the diversion of the sanctuary land to lay lines for gas, oil, and optical fibers.

About the pipeline passing through Gir Sanctuary

One of the members of the State Board for Wildlife had objected to the broad gauge line being installed as it would result in trains running at 50 km/ph and more, which could run over the lions. 

Such an incident was reported near Pipavav in December 2018, the application stated.

It further submitted that the state’s decision to install a gas and oil pipeline needs to be cancelled, as such a pipeline can develop cracks leading to the release of oil and gas into the environment resulting in pollution and destruction of flora and fauna due to fire. 

Forest fires are very dangerous and may destroy the lion abode in Gir Sanctuary.

The sanctuary and its surrounding areas harbour 674 lions up from 523 in 2015. The distribution of lions expanded from 22,000 sq km to 30,000 sq km in 2020, occupying several areas in and outside Gir Sanctuary.

  

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