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Saving The Mangrove

October 22, 2006

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Generally speaking, the Gujarat government is in the forefront of actively governed states in India. Its pace in develepment is quicker and there seems to be hightened sense of alertness there in many fronts.

It appears that the corporate sector is showing the sense of responsibility in joining the geovernment by throwing its not inconsiderable weight to aid governmental efforts, – for instance in environmental conservation.

Here is a report by NDTV:

Corporate giants in Gujarat are now coming together for the regeneration of mangroves.

Many of the companies have coastal installations and mangroves have been known to protect land from sea-storms and tsunamis.

For instance, Reliance has decided to plant mangroves in it’s oil refinery at Jamnagar, which is cyclone-prone.

“We are planning to plant some more mangroves in the areas close to our refinery so that at least we can cover Jamnagar with mangroves forest,” said Dr Dhiren M Pania, Manager (Agro), Reliance Group.

The refinery had sustained severe damages in the cyclone, which played havoc in Gujarat in 1998.

Policy needed

Gujarat’s mangroves have taken a hit in the last few years, which is why the government is trying to regenerate 2,900 hectares.

But there is no comprehensive policy or co-ordination within various government departments on the issue.

Experts believe that without a policy on saving and regenerating mangroves, the coastline of the country will always remain exposed to threats from natural calamities and humans.

“We need to have a comprehensive policy and a long-term plan which will take care of all constraints we have been facing in our attempts to save mangroves,” said Indira Hirway, Director, CEDA.

The government’s tie-up with corporates is nevertheless a small step in the conservation of the mangroves.

Unfortunately, mangroves are not included in the Forest Conservation Act and so it is not protected legally. Infact in Gujarat, it is not even included in the Saurashtra Felling of Trees Act.

Due to this, people indulging in cutting mangroves in the state cannot be prosecuted. Observers say the need of hour is to make necessary amendments in the existing laws to protect the vegetation.

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