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Nine core issues affect lions in Gir: Hemang Shah

Earlier, the court had directed the stakeholders in the case to identify out issues that affect the conservation of lions and possible solutions.

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Nine core issues affect lions in Gir: Hemang Shah
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Acting on a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) questioning the rampant lion details, amicus curiae Hemang Shah on Thursday filed a report pointing out the issues affecting Asiatic Lion population in the Gir region. Shah has pointed out 9 core issues, which according to him needs to be taken into consideration by the court as well as the state government so as to ensure the safety of lions.

The core issues include open wells, railway tracks and trains passing through the forest area, illegal electric fencing of farms by farmers in the region, roads passing through the forest, mining and excavation going in the area, illegal lion shows, appointment of trackers and forest guards to keep track of lions, maintaining food chain and water, and radio collaring of every lion and connecting them with GPS.

Earlier, the court had directed the stakeholders in the case to identify out issues that affect the conservation of lions and possible solutions. It was contemplated by the court that whether an elevated corridor for railways will reduce lion deaths, or not.

Shah informed the court that the elevated corridor is not feasible as for constructing the elevated corridor, pillars will have to be erected for which excavation will have to be carried out. He said the construction activity will be detrimental to the lion population. The court also inquired about the same from counsel for railways Ramnandan Singh, who also submitted that elevated corridor is not feasible.

Shah also submitted that the mining activities going on in the area is also detrimental to the lion population as explosives are used by stone quarries. It was also pointed out that the stone quarries after excavation leaves huge pits and lions may fall into it and die. He said it was "surprising" how these stone quarries get license and that these should be immediately closed down.

Following the submissions, the court has directed the state government to file its reply to the report and scheduled the next hearing on July 11.

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