09/02/2016Gujarat government reduced Gir sanctuary no-go area from 2km to 1km, alleges Congress
The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: Congress on Monday accused the Gujarat government of reducing the permissible limit for construction around Gir sanctuary to benefit business associates of the chief minister. It sought a court-monitored investigation into the allegations of land scam, and urged the SC to take suo moto cognisance of the case since it involved powerful people like the Prime Minister and the CM.
AICC spokesman Manish Tewari said the Gujarat government issued an order on July 1, 2015 which went against the grain of wildlife protection. "Rather than protecting the Asiatic lion and the Gir forest, the government decided to bring down the no-go area from 2 km to 1 km. Is this customisation of policy taking place and for whose benefit?" he asked.
The state, in February 2010, had laid down that no commercial activity was permissible within 2 km of Gir, while in October 2010, the collector of Amreli district allotted 9,94,08,024 sq metres of land to a company with business links to a company with business links to the CM's daughter. Tewari said most of the land belonging to the company came under the 1-2 km area.
"Unfortunately, the silence of both the PM and the CM has been deafening... who is benefitting from the flagrant violation of the Environment Protection Act and the Wildlife Act, and I ask the PM, if this is not corruption, then would you care to explain as to what exactly is this?" Tiwari said.