In Gujarat’s Saurastra region, freshwater availability has been critical since 1970. Ambuja Cements with ACF has developed a rehabilitation plan taking into account wider biodiversity conservation goals and societal needs. The multi-faceted approach resulted in capturing freshwater in the region, improving degraded areas near the Gir forest, creating important habitats and ecosystems in the closed quarries and developing a mangrove forest. This was only possible by working with several local stakeholders including local communities, forest departments, NGOs, and authorities.

The prime objective of the project was to undertake rehabilitation activities to both mitigate impacts of the extraction and our operations and respond to the needs of the local communities. Considering the ecological sensitivities of the region, ACL adopted a landscape approach; taking into account the wider conservation objectives in the region. Thus, the scope of the rehabilitation activities was widened to include areas outside the quarries. Due to the water stress in the area, particular focus was given to improve the water management in the region.

Ambujanagar worked with local communities, natural resource management experts, NGOs and local authorities to develop the objectives. The Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), has been instrumental in delivering on the outcomes.

The rehabilitation activities focused on the following key issues:

Capturing and preserving the freshwater: ACF implemented several measures to improve water management in the area, primarily through rainwater harvesting, and converting the closed quarries into artificial lakes

and wetlands. Number of dams and small barriers have been built across the direction of water flow, to reduce the velocity in shallow rivers and streams to avoid runoff. Other measures include interlinking rivers and streams, construction of percolation wells, renovation and deepening of ponds and runoff diversion systems which contribute to the capturing of rainwater and recharging of existing farmers’ wells.

Quarry rehabilitation through planting trees: Different species of trees have been planted as part of the restoration of the mined-out areas and surrounding zone. The company collaborated with the forest department for undertaking plantation activities, on the periphery of the Gir forest, on barren tracts of degraded land. The company is also planning to grow Jatropha as a source of bio-fuel in the coming years.,

Conserving of the flora and fauna of Gir: The Ambujanagar plant also supported the conservation of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica),
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