Shiyal has also alleged that the private company is using heavy machinery and pouring chemicals to destroy the mangrove cover along Victor Port.
In a public interest litigation (PIL) being heard by the Gujarat High Court against the destruction of mangroves by a private company Om Sai Navigations, the petitioner, Ajay Shiyal, has once again reiterated that the mangroves were there till 2016, but were later cut down by the private company, and GHCL. He has alleged that the mangrove cover has been also destroyed by other individuals involved in the business of prawn culture.
Shiyal has also alleged that the private company is using heavy machinery and pouring chemicals to destroy the mangrove cover along Victor Port. He has also alleged that close to 40,000 mangroves along the Victor Port area have been already destroyed. He has also submitted maps and photographs before the court to drive home his point that mangrove cover, which is non-existent now, was there before 2016.
Notably, Om Sai Navigations, has been assigned the work for strengthening and upgradation of Victor Port for cargo handling facilities, and had earlier refuted the allegations of destroying mangroves for executing the project before the court. The high court had issued a notice to the company on February 6 seeking a reply from it and imposed a stay on the illegal destruction of mangroves cover along the coastline near the villages of Victor, Pipavav, Behrai, Karthivadar, Datardi, Khera, Chanch, and Patva, of Amreli district by private companies.
Shiyal had claimed in his petition that around 1.4 lakh mangroves were grown during the period between 2005 and 2017. The main purpose behind growing the mangrove cover was to stop the sea water from entering into the villages and to decrease soil salinity. It also helped in protecting the shoreline from storms, tides, etc., by preventing soil erosion.
He had submitted that several industries have set up their operations in Rajula taluka of Amreli district for commercial activities and are illegally destroying the mangroves to meet their additional land requirements. He contended that he also made representations before the district authorities about the same but, in vain. It was his claim that the destruction of mangrove cover by companies for ro-ro service, shrimp culture, and salt production is in gross violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone norms laid down by the Centre.
Meanwhile, the high court is going to take up the matter for further hearing on Monday.