Gujrat government assures action against illegal hospitality industry around Gir
The Times Of India
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat government has assured Gujarat high court that it is pondering action against the hospitality units operating illegally around Gir sancturary, which is the last abode of the Asiatic lions.
In response to a query by the HC, the forest department has placed a list of 66 private establishments around Gir sanctuary and said that owners illegally use them as hospitality units in form of restaurants, hotels and resorts. "It has come to the notice of the forest department that certain hospitality units have started under the garb of commercial and residential establishment adjoining Gir sanctuary and the department is looking into the issue in order to protect the interest of lions," the affidavit reads.
It further stated that the authorities are working in the direction to end the illegalities in this buffer zone, where it has identified 66 properties where hospitality units are operated in violation of norms in Junagadh, Amreli and Gir-Somnath districts. The government has also pointed out that the resort operated by a renowned hotel group will soon have to obtain Centre's permission and its lease has expired.
The government has cited its resolutions which were passed on June 25, 2009 and February 8, 2010. By these resolutions it prohibited construction and operation of hospitality units in the regulated zone and maintained that those hospitality units that operate with legal permit are operated under strict terms and conditions.
Earlier also, the high court had asked the government to curb illegal construction in the buffer zone of the protected area. This was in connection with a petition filed by one Anil Chudasama, who claimed that the authorities were not permitting him to carry out agriculture activity in his land, which was allegedly purchased by previous owners from the pastoralists that were rehabilitated as part of evacuation of the Gir sanctuary. However, these pastoralists sold the allocated plots and went back to the forest.