Under siege

Under siege  the existence of protected areas in Gujarat is threatened. Cement industries and lime stone quarries have taken their toll on Gir forests. The Marine National Park and sanctuary have suffered due to petroleum processing plants, pipelines and cement manufacturing units. The latest to join the casualty list is the Thol birds sanctuary located in Ahmedabad. In 1988, the seven sq km patch was notified to protect this wetland. The state's finance minister, Nitin Patel, wants this protected area to be denotified "for the benefit of thousands of farmers'. However, environment and forests minister Dolatbhai Desai says, "We do not have the powers to denotify sanctuaries. Such a decision has to be taken by the Union government.'

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