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Gujarat: Cancel Ultratech licence, farmers' body urges MoEF

The organisation argued that the project will result in job-losses; disproportionate to new jobs generated, harm the ecology including Asiatic Lions and will adversely affect dehydration plants for onions and garlic.

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Gujarat Khedut Ekta Samiti, a farmers' organization in the state, has urged Central Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to cancel the license given to Ultratech for mining of limestone in Bhavnagar district.

The organisation argued that the project will result in job-losses; disproportionate to new jobs generated, harm the ecology including Asiatic Lions and will adversely affect dehydration plants for onions and garlic.

It warned, if the department fails to pay heed to the farmers' concern, the organisation will be forced to take a legal course or even start a popular resistance to stop the mining and the government will be responsible for consequences.

Sagar Rabari, founder president of the Samiti In the letter said that the permission to the mining project has been given despite opposition of locals. It questioned the claims, the company had made in the Environment Impact Assessment, whose report it had submitted to the government. An upcoming project to be installed at Talaja in Bhavnagar distrct.

"The project has been deliberately bifurcated into two projects to hide the actual impact on the environment. Talaja forest range has recorded three Asiatic Lions and over eight leopards, as mentioned in a reply to a RTI. But this has not been mentioned in the report," claimed the letter. The letter further read that the land allowed for mining will result in thousands of people losing their livelihood, against which only 30 jobs will be created.

"What does the Gujarat government want? Environment and Asiatic Lions or investment? What is the point of destroying the environment, depriving the locals of their traditional occupation and supporting industries?" asked Rabari in the letter.

Rabari also said that the state government has included Talaja, Mahuva, Palitana, Rajula, Liliya and Jafrabad as Larger Gir area as Lions are expanding their habitats. However, the government has given a nod to mining in this area.

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