State to have one more lion safari park
Gandhinagar, April 01 Gujarat is all set to get one more Lion Safari Park in a bid to better organise tourist flow under a joint project between the Forest and Tourism departments. The Centre has also cleared the project with a grant of Rs 5 crore, and the state government has begun preparation for implementing it through the two departments.
To come up across 400 hectares of reserve forest near the Ambardi village in Dhari taluka of Amreli district, the new facility would provide an alternative site to Sasan-Gir. A report on the design aspects of the safari park is being prepared by the foresters and would come up before a convergence committee headed by Tourism Secretary Atanu Chakravarty.
"There were historical reasons for the development of Sasan because the Nawab of Junagadh used it. But of late, we have observed that tourist pressure was straining the infrastructure there. Also the fact that there are more lions present outside the Gir sanctuary area necessitated this second park," said an official.
It is also the first of its kind collaboration between the two departments on promoting eco-tourism in Gir. "We are looking forward to synergies that should give better spot management. This should translate into more tourist inflow," said Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) managing director P D Vaghela.
Conservator of Forests (Junagadh Wildlife Cirlce)
Officials are now aiming to provide a wholesome nature education experience to tourists, and at the same time, take some pressure off Sasan Gir. Apart from the lion trails, water bodies in the area would also be developed to provide boating rides to the visitors. Tents would also be provided at suitable locations. Free from the constraints of a sanctuary area, the new project area would have adequate facilities by way of cafeterias, parking, guides, and controlled access through vehicles, said officials.