Gujarat, green activists stand divided | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Gujarat, green activists stand divided

delhi Updated: Oct 14, 2011 02:30 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
Chetan Chauhan

The 1965 battleground between India and Pakistan in Rann of Kutch is now a war zone between security forces and environmentalists over protecting Indian flamingoes and Harappan site of Dholavira.

Gujarat's public works department has proposed an elevated road to provide better access to the BSF's last point in Rann of Kutch, where Indian and Pakistani troops fought a bloody battle in 1965, in addition to existing road along the Indo-Pak border.

That is what Gujarat has told the environment ministry to get the clearance from the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife that meets on Friday.

What it didn't say is tourism potential by providing wildlife, prehistoric creates and unique archeological site along side the road.

The elevated road will pass through Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, India's only dry protected area, bringing the famous Flamingo City closer to vehicle access. Every year, thousands of flamingos transcend in this site in South Asia to raise their broods.

Close to Flamingo City is Tangdi Bet, the last refuge of wild ass in the Rann. Their other home in south Asia is in Rajasthan. South of the proposed road is one of the most diverse mangrove system of 7,000 sq meters at Sharavan Kavadia.

The proposed road will cut through archeological site of Jurassic and Cretaceous ages, where relics of dinosaurs, prehistoric crocodiles and whales have been found and fifth largest Indus Valley civilisation site at Dholavira.

While Gujarat has described the project as a must to protect India's security concerns, the environmentalists believe that the road will destroy the local ecological and cultural sites.

"We have to understand the impact of the road on the ecology and wildlife before taking a final decision," said Divyabhanusinh Chavda, a NBWL member. The BSF has backed the proposal.

The members of the board had visited the project site and are expected to submit a report on Friday.