Salt pan workers on Friday protested against notices issued to them by the forest department for eviction from a wildlife sanctuary in Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) in Gujarat and submitted a memorandum to the collector of Surendranagar.
A part of the LRK, which is a salt marsh, falls in Surendranagar district and is protected as a wild ass sanctuary.
"More than 400 Agariyas, or salt farmers, gathered outside the district collector's office at Patdi here and submitted a memorandum and raised slogans against the move by the state forest department to evict them. They also accused the forest department of damaging and confiscating their solar panels used to make salt," an official said.
The salt farmers have sought that the state government protect their traditional livelihood and have alleged only small farmers were being targeted, while bigger units were left untouched, he said.
The memorandum of the NGO Agariya Heet Rakshak Manch marked for state forest minister Mulu Bera claimed these salt pan workers have been issued identity cards as traditional Agariya but were being forced to leave the site by forest department officials.
The situation has created fear and terror among the Agariyas in the region, and the state government will have to intervene immediately with mitigation measures, the NGO functionaries asserted.
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