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National Green Tribunal on Gujarat’s Banni Grasslands

The National Green Tribunal (NGT):

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered all encroachments to be removed from Gujarat’s Banni grasslands within six months and directed a joint committee to prepare an action plan in a month.

  • The court also said the Maldharis will continue to hold the right to conserve the community forests in the area, granted to them as per the provisions in Section 3 of Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  • The Maldhari community had filed a case against the rampant encroachment in the ecologically sensitive grassland in May 2018.
  • Maldharis are a tribal herdsmen community in Gujarat, India.
  • Maldhari community breeds Banni Buffaloes, a species endemic to the region. The buffaloes are adaptive to Kutch’s hot weather conditions.
  • Banni grassland is spread over 2,618 kilometres and accounts for almost 45 per cent of the pastures in Gujarat.
  • It comprises 48 hamlets/villages organized into 19 panchayats, with a population of about 40,000.
  • Two ecosystems, wetlands and grasslands, are juxtaposed in Banni.
  • The area is rich in flora and fauna, with 192 species of plants, 262 species of birds, several species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

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