Kharai Camel Breeders Demand Termination of Salt Pan Leases in Coastal Gujarat

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

June 18, 2021

Location of Conflict

Bhachau

Kutch

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Land Use

Camel breeding

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

380

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

304

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Gujarat

Sector

Land Use

The Kutch Camel Breeders Association (KCBA) filed a petition in 2017 with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) alleging that mangrove forests along coastal Gujarat were being cleared in a rampant manner by the authorities in violation of the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2011. The petition says that the destruction of mangroves not only violates the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, but also deprives the indigenous Kharai camel species of its major food source, thereby affecting the livelihoods of several hundred camel breeders in the region. Breeders from Bhachau to Gandhidham, who together own about 700 camels, alleged that food for the camels has become scarce. Kharai camel is a unique breed of camel found only in Kutch, which can swim in seawater and survives on mangroves. According to news reports, KCBA President Bhikhabhai Rabari claims that salt pan leaseholders have blocked the creek in the Gulf of Kutch to produce salt and, as a result, mangroves have been devoid of seawater, which is essential for their survival. He alleges that the leaseholders used to work outside the creek area earlier but they now produce salt inside the creek where dense mangroves are present. On March 19, 2018, the NGT issued showcause notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) and the State Forest Department. However, despite the NGT's order and cancellation of lease by the Kutch district collector, work on salt pans continues inside the creek. On April 7, 2018, the camel breeders submitted a memorandum to the Deendayal Port Trust against salt production and leasing of salt pans. On August 1 that year, the NGT ordered the Gujarat Pollution Control Board to reopen the tidal creek, which had been sealed off by the salt companies, so that seawater could reach the mangroves and prevent further damage. In September 2019, the NGT ordered the authorities to find those responsible for the degradation of the mangroves and levy environmental charges on them for their restoration.  Earlier in 2020, the KCBA had filed a plea alleging that the Deen Dayal Port Trust had not executed the order of the NGT to protect mangroves from destruction. In September, the NGT asked the MoEFCC and the Gujarat government to recover the fine from violators. About 600 kilometres away, Aliya Bet in the delta of the Narmada River would have served as a good source of food for the camels as the area has goodquality grass. But potable water is no longer available there with the building of a dam upstream. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation, Complaint against procedural violations

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights, Violation of environmental laws, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal

Case Number

OA 111/2018

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Development of a network or collective action , Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Deen Dayal Port Trust, Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch
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