Surat collector directs farm owners to demolish illegal shrimp ponds

The district collector added that the farm owners will be booked under Gujarat Land Grabbing Act 2020 if they fail to comply with the order in 15 days.

Surat District Collector Dr Dhaval Patel on Friday directed farm owners to demolish illegal shrimp ponds at 14 villages of Olpad taluka.

The district collector added that the farm owners will be booked under Gujarat Land Grabbing Act 2020 if they fail to comply with the order in 15 days.

On August 24, the National Green Tribunal had issued notices to the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change and others on a petition filed by an NGO over illegal encroachment of shrimp ponds and salt pans on the flood plains of Tena creek and Kim river in Surat and Bharuch districts.

The NGO, Brackish Water Research Centre (BWRC), in its complaint filed with NGT West Zone, had said that the illegal encroachments lead to bottlenecks in the water flow into the sea and damage to coastal ecology, and violated the Environment Protect Act, 1986, CRZ notifications of 2011 and 2019.

The NGT bench had, on August 24, asked the Surat district collector and state government to file interim report in six week time.

Collector Patel, in the interim report sent to NGT and petitioner on November 9, had cited Covid-19 pandemic for the delay in identifying illegal shrimp ponds in the district.

Speaking to the Indian Express, Patel said, “We have carried out surveys and issued notices to the owners of illegal shrimp farms at 14 villages in Olpad taluka to demolish their farms. If they fail to do so in the prescribed time of 15 days, we will take strict actions including registering offence under Land Grabbing Act against them.”

Brackish Water Research Centre’s MSH Shaikh said, “We are satisfied with the decision taken by the Surat district collector.”

Source: Read Full Article