In the name of God
The ministry of environment and forests has issued a resolution regarding the allotment of 20.25 ha forest land to the Kankeshwari Temple Trust. The temple and the allotted land is in the heart of the Gir forest, which was declared a lion sanctuary in 1969; the core part of the Gir area has been declared a national park.
The complex is large enough to accommodate 30 residential premises where at least 250 persons can stay comfortably. Twice a year -- on the festivals of Navratri and Chitry -- about 5,000 pilgrims a day visit the temple; about 2,000 pilgrims are accommodated and served free meals.
The entire area of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is classified as a "Dense Forest Area", as per the report of the Forest Survey of India, 1991. The 20.25 ha of land in question, and the surrounding areas, have particularly high crop density and crown canopy cover of about 50 per cent, against a countrywide average of 40 per cent. The average number of trees per ha of Gir land is estimated to be 600.
The land was given to the temple pujari to plough as Chavhak in 1964 and none to the Trust. By law, Chavhak cannot be transferred to another individual or trust. No mention was made of this gifted land by the government in its final award, when it declared Gir a sanctuary. The state government of Gujarat is considering only the 1963 report and purposely avoiding considering the later final report of 1968 what are these reports? Ask Amit Mitra).
Even for the purpose of granting 20.25 ha of land in 1994, the government of Gujarat did not seek permission from the new amendment rules of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, in which it is made clear that no land which is declared as sanctuary or national park should be diverted for other purposes.
The Trust has encroached on more than 0.29 gutha of land; as far as I know, acreage of 4 times more area has been encroached on in the name of pilgrims and religion. In the name of "Gir development", poor maldharis were mercilessly ousted from the forest because their small huts were considered destructive to the Gir habitat. Under the circumstances, can the Trust be permitted to construct guest houses?
In order to protect the Gir Sanctuary, we had filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court which is now pending a hearing....
We enjoyed reading the article Till Joys
(Down to Earth, March 15, 1995). it has
captured the empowerment dimension
and the efforts of the women to achieve
this. As you have mentioned, though
our programme may look similar to
'Santidan' on addressing women-related issues, we are attempting to create
an alternative financial system and
business support mechanisms for economic development of the poor on a
A thought for caves
Last year, on a visit to Katra (a village in
south-west Bihar), the villagers
informed me of a site in the nearby
Lehda forest, which had caves with
paintings and inscriptions on their
walls. I found these to be large rocks of
sandstone, where a 30 It (about 9
meters) vertical rock panel contained a
number of beautiful pictures at ground
level, which had already been defaced
by vandals..However, a few paintings,
depicting deer, cattle and various symbols, still survived.
There is no mention of these sites in
the district gazetteer or any other government record. Recently, through the
efforts of the INTACH, a number of such
sites have been located in Isko village of
Keredari Barka and Tandva blocks in
Hazaribagh district. Another such
example of cave art is in the Arar forest
of Ithanclaria block in Garhwa district.
According to estimates by the archaeological department, the age of the rock
paintings in Kaimur district - which
resemble the Lehda paintings - is
around 20,000 years.
These findings in Lchda show that
primitive humans lived in
Chotanagpur. These rock paintings are
part of our heritage and they need
immediate attention from the archaeological department.
This has reference to the article Electric
Motion (Down to Earth, Vol 3 No 20)
by Anjaru Khanna. I would like to
know whether the batteries referred to
are being marketed within the country
and if so, by which agency. Also,
whether my Indian company is going
to manufacture cars using these batteries. In case you don't have the information with you, kindly let me know the
address of the appropriate
person/agency in this regard.
You could write to:
Confederation ofIndian Industry
Habitat Centre, New Delhi...