Friday, July 02, 2010

Post Big B visit, tourism dept seeks hike in Gir visitor permits

Post Big B visit, tourism dept seeks hike in Gir visitor permits
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

Impressed with the tourist influx after the Big B shoot in Gir, the state tourism department has proposed to the forest department to keep a part of the forest open throughout the year and increase the number of permits issued to visitors. The forest closes mid-June till October during the mating season of the beasts.

The tourism department has requested the forest department to issue more permits during the tourist season, between October and June 15. Tourism Secretary, Vipul Mittra, said, "At present, the forest department allows 90 vehicles twice a day, we have requested them to increase the number by at least 30 more vehicles."

However, the forest department has not fully agreed to the proposal. "This was proposed with the intention that visitors do not have to go back. Further, we are also requesting the forest department to ensure that the Devaliya interpretation zone is not closed during the rainy season so that visitors can at least watch the animal in a semi-wild area," said Mittra.

However, chief conservator of forests, Junagadh (wildlife) S Chaturvedi said that Devaliya never closes down except on Wednesdays. He admitted that not many people were aware of this. "We are planning to create awareness about Devaliya being open round the year and will also start an advertisement campaign to this effect."

Tourism officials said that before releasing advertisement the department wanted to ensure that there was a flow of tourists and they did not need to return without sighting lions. The officer said that soon after Amitabh Bachchan finished his shoot for the promotional film on tourism, in Gir, there was a increase of 15-20 per cent in the tourist flow.

However, the forest department was still mulling over the tourism proposal. A senior forest officer, refusing to be quoted, said "In the entire ninemonth tourist season only 20-25 days go totally packed. In the remaining days only 60 per cent of the 90 permits are used."

He further added that increasing the permit was also not in the interest of the wildlife as it would create disturbance and the animal would be troubled by intrusion in its privacy.

1 comment:

Jaidev Dhadhal said...

Untill & unless a survey of 'Carrying Capacity" of tourists is not done, permit for more vehicles should not be granted.

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