The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed joint inspection of Gujarat’s Kutch district after the Deendayal Port Trust refuted allegations by a petitioner that mangroves in the area were being cleared for construction in violation of law.
A Bench headed by judicial member Jawad Rahim said on Monday, “There shall be a joint inspection conducted and the report shall be filed by the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board and Central Pollution Control Board.”
Earlier this month, the green panel had issued show cause notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) and the State Forest Department after the plea filed by the Kachchh Camel Breeders Association, alleged that mangroves along coastal Gujarat were being cleared in a “rampant” manner by the authorities.
However, the Trust informed the tribunal on Monday that no construction activity was affecting mangroves.
“In view of the fact that the categorical statement there is no activity which may result in destruction of mangroves, we direct that status quo shall be maintained till further orders,” the Bench said.
The tribunal gave the Gujarat government, GCZMA and the District Collector four weeks to file their respective replies.
In the plea, the association had alleged that “incessant destruction activities of the respondents have severely diminished the cover of sparse mangroves found at the said site, as well as destroyed the habitat of the indigenous kharai camels, in addition to disrupting livelihoods of villagers dependent