The Gujarat High Court (HC) on Thursday issued notice to the state government, along with the revenue department and the mines and industries department, while acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) questioning the allotment of grazing land for lignite mining purposes.
The notice, also issued to the other respondents namely Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd, Bhavnagar Energy Company ltd, Bhavnagar district magistrate, mamlatdar and district superintendent of police (DSP), is expected to be responded to by January 9, 2020.
The PIL, which has been moved by the sarpanch of Badi village in the Ghogha taluka of Bhavnagar, has largely contended that grazing land is a community resource and being a common good cannot be privatised as a matter of principle. The PIL has also contended that the village does not have alternative grazing land as majority of the government land, public land and private land have been given for mining, either by way of land acquisition or allocation.
The PIL has sought interim relief, primarily on the ground that if the grazing lands are taken over and mining activity is commenced, it would cause irreparable damage not only to the villagers’ livelihoods, but also to the environment by destruction of the grasslands in the area, “which cannot be compensated in terms of money and would make the petition infructous.”
The petitioner has sought that the land allotment order by the state’s revenue department as well as the lease deed to Gujarat Energy Corporation Ltd be quashed and set aside.