The Environment and Forest Department has formed a working group to draw up proposals for inclusion of the Great and Little Rann of Kutch (GRK and LRK) and Gir and Girnar in UNESCOs World Heritage Sites list. Currently,the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Panchmahals is Gujarats only representative in the global bodys World Heritage Sites list.
Meanwhile,the Historic city of Ahmedabad,Dholavira in Kutch,Patans Rani-ki-Vav step-well and the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch are on the list of tentative heritage sites. Of these,the Little Rann of Kutch falls under the natural heritage category. The rest fall under the cultural heritage category.
The Environment and Forest Departments working group,made up of six serving Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers posted in the state and headed by the state wildlife warden,has also been tasked with enlarging the proposal for the Little Rann of Kutchs bid to be a world heritage site to include the Great Rann of Kutch.
The Great Rann of Kutch,considered the worlds largest seasonal salty lagoon,is to be clubbed with the Little Rann of Kutch under the natural heritage criteria,according to the tasks allotted to the departments working group.
On the other hand,the Environment and Forest department hopes the proposal for Gir and Girnar would make the area Indias first mixed category nomination to UNESCOs list.
While the Girnar mountains are both tourist and pilgrimage sites that house,among others,the Ashokan edicts and the Sun Temple along with several natural wonders such as vulture breeding grounds,the adjoining Gir forest is a national park and wildlife sanctuary.
However,both the Rann and Gir-Girnar proposals would have to be first cleared by the states wildlife warden because they are protected areas under Indias forest laws,according to a senior official.