Oil company seeks legal nod to barge into marine park

How can one conserve a wildlife sanctuary better? By flagrantly trespassing on one part of it. Then picking up the tab for planting trees on another in recompense. This is precisely the logic underlying a petition filed by Essar Oil Limited in the Supreme Court (sc). The case, scheduled to be heard next on July 7, 2003, may have a bearing on protected areas across the country. For it could set an important precedent with regard to such a line of reasoning, adduced by vested interests pursuing an exploitative agenda.

The site in question is the Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary that stretches over 140 kilometres of the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat. Located in the inter-tidal zone along Jamnagar, it has lately come to be viewed more as an ideal transit channel for oil rather than the haven it is meant to be for upwards of 1,000 species of flora and fauna. Some companies