A plea alleging destruction of mangroves by the Deen Dayal Port Trust in Gujarat's Kutch district has prompted the National Green Tribunal to seek responses from the Centre and the state government.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Gujarat government, Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority, Deen Dayal Port Trust and others while seeking their replies within a week.
"Issue Notice to the respondents," the bench said while posting the matter for hearing on March 19.
The tribunal was hearing a plea by Gujarat based Kachch Camel Breeders Association alleging rampant clearing of the mangroves in Nani Chirai and Moti Chirai areas of Bhachau Taluka in Kutch district by the Deen Dayal Port Trust.
"The destruction of mangroves not only violates the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification, 2011, but also deprives the indigenous Kharai camel species of its major food source, thereby affecting the livelihoods of several hundred camel breeders of the region," the petition said.
The petition, filed through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Upama Bhattacharjee, claimed that the "incessant destruction activities" of the respondents have diminished the cover of sparse mangroves found at the site and destroyed the habitat of the indigenous Kharai camels which has affected the livelihood of villagers dependent on the mangroves.
It said these activities carried out by the Deen Dayal Trust Port were without any CRZ or Forest clearance which was causing irreversible loss of mangroves.
The association has sought directions for the rehabilitation and restitution of the mangroves already destroyed and payment of a environmental compensation charge for the destruction.
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