The forest department has registered an FIR against five persons for allegedly destroying the habitat of Slender-billed gulls during the construction of a road in Great Rann of Kutch.
It has been alleged that the accused persons removed several hundred eggs of the birds from the nests in the original colony and shifted them to a new place around 800 metres off the road. During the act, at least a dozen chicks died.
Forest officers said that the incident happened near Khavda village of Kutch district in the Greater Rann of Kutch. The colony of the bird came in the way of under construction 255-km Guduli-Santalpur road. This was the first time that the birds chose this particular location of hatching.
A year ago, officials said, the first layer of soiling for the road was finished and since then the construction was awaited. The work resumed only on 16 of this month. "The labourers found the colony of the gulls and tried to shift them. Their intention was bonafide but still, it was illegal. Therefore, we have filed an FIR against them," Thakkar said.
This road, off the India-Pakistan border, will connect Santalpur in Patan district, north Gujarat, to Gaduli in western Kutch. It is being constructed by the National Highway Authority of India. In 2015, officials said, the National Board of Wildlife granted permission for construction of the road despite concerns of environmental damages. It is reported that the road became "necessary for security purposes for movement of Border Security Force.
Video footage of the spot reveals several hundred eggs of the Slender-billed gulls kept on freshly dug up soil while hatchlings emerging from them. In the background, several trucks are lined up for the construction work. "We have stopped the construction after finding the incident. We have noted deaths of the hatchlings but it could be a natural phenomenon as well," the officer added.