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RTI revelation: govt has no data on Little Rann of Kutch

The state government has no data about the Little Rann of Kutch. It took about two years for the government to accept that it has no data regarding the survey of the 5,000 square kilometre area,which is famous for the Asiatic Wild Ass.

Written by Kamran Sulaimani | Vadodara |
February 3, 2009 2:12:19 am

No survey has been carried out in the 5,000 sq km area,accepts revenue dept

The state government has no data about the Little Rann of Kutch. It took about two years for the government to accept that it has no data regarding the survey of the 5,000 square kilometre area,which is famous for the Asiatic Wild Ass. There is no survey number as well.

The revelations were made by the public information officers (PIOs) of the Revenue Department,Office of the Settlement Commissioner & Director of Land Records,and the office of the District Inspector of Land Records (DILR),in a reply to an RTI application filed by one Harinesh Pandya. The applicationi sought information on the land survey number,jurisdiction of the district collector,rights of the traditional community and the like. The three offices,however,could not give a definite answer.

Earlier,the office of the DILR had provided the information through a letter dated July 20,2007. It categorically mentioned that “no survey had been made by this office of the area known as Little Rann of Kutch. As no survey was made,there is no survey number”.

According to the DILR,the area known as Little Rann of Kutch falls under the jurisdiction of collectors of Kutch,Rajkot,Surendranagar,Patan,Jamnagar and Banaskantha.

The DILR further mentioned that the area was notified as Ghudkhar protected forest. The additional collector had undertaken the work relating to this. But the PIO and the deputy conservator of forests,Ghudkhar,had no information on the issue. At the same time,the PIOs of Banaskantha and Rajkot refused to provide information saying that it does not pertain to their jurisdiction and that no such area is part of their districts.

After multiple transfers of the RTI application,Pandya moved the Gujarat Information Commission. “I took this step,as the area is of strategic and ecological importance,apart from the fact that a large number of people,particularly the salt workers,are dependent on the area for their livelihood,” said Pandya. He further said,”Every inch of land in India has been surveyed. It is strange that there is no information about such a huge area.”

The survey is also important,as the nomadic tribes as well as other tribes and salt pan workers staying in this area have no rights. “They cannot claim their rights because the land they are living in has not been surveyed,” Pandya added.

The state information commission,in its order dated January 29,2009,has directed the Revenue Department,Office of the Settlement Commissioner & Director of Land Records,and Office of the DILR,to submit complete and correct information to the complainant within three weeks from the receipt of the order. They have also been told to bring this order to the attention of the settlement commissioner and director of land records.

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