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Protected land at Gir, Gujarat sold illegally to hoteliers

Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 19:00 Hrs  [IST]
By HBI Staff | Mumbai

According to the Times of India, 588 deals were made to sell protected forest plots located within and around Gir, Gujarat to hoteliers, builders and politicians; however, this illegal sale came to light when one of the buyers, Anil Chudasama, was prevented from building on his land. Chudasama appealed to the Gujarat High Court about the same. Construction on some plots has begun, although it is illegal on protected land.

The protected land was initially awarded to the Maldharis or ness (settlement) inhabitants when they were asked to move from the only home of Asiatic lions to these compensatory plots in Gir Sanctuary. At first, the Maldharis were not allowed to sell their land, but gradually the revenue department reinstated the old laws, which allowed sale to individuals. Apparently all the plot buyers have obtained permission from all authorities for the land. Revenue and forest officials are being questioned by Justice M R Shah of the Gujarat High Court. Justice Shah has demanded records of all the deals.

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