Gujarat High Court shuts down 67 sandmining units in Gir sanctuary
A two-judge bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Jayant Patel and Justice GB Shah, passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL).
The order came after the Gujarat forest department submitted that the 67 units would not be given 'No Objection Certificates (NOC)' to mine on the banks of the Shetrunji river in the Gir Sanctuary area.
Lease periods of all 67 units ended in 2014 and their proposals to extend their leases were pending before the state government.
The High Court acted in response to a PIL filed by a Surat city-based citizen Rajkumar Sutaria who alleged that illegal mining in the area threatened the lives of wild animals like , bears, hyneas and golden jackals.
"Though the Gir Asiatic lion sanctuary is protected as an eco-sensitive zone where no construction or development activities can take place in a radius of 10 km, mining in the Shetrunji river has been going on, threatening the existence of wildlife," the petition alleged.