Saturday, May 14, 2011

No hotels within 2km of Gir sanctuary

No hotels within 2km of Gir sanctuary
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

Hoteliers eyeing business opportunities around Gir sanctuary may not have many options left. The state forest department has banned such activities within the two-km radius of the sanctuary.
The department recently issued a notification restricting setting up any new hotel business in the two km periphery of the Sanctuary. The decision is aimed at giving Asiatic lions free access to the Sasan Gir sanctuary and to protect their natural corridor. 

Forest officials said, however, those hotels and farmhouses which are already in business would continue to do so. He said af- ter the tourism department's advertisement featuring Gujarat brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, there was a mad rush of the tourists to the sanctuary. Sensing opportunities, businessmen started buying land in the area. This forced the state forest department to come out with the regulation. 

SK Nanda, principal secretary, forest and environment department said the restriction on the hotel industry was only to give free excess to the lions. He said that the movement of the lions was getting restricted because of the developments happening around the sanctuary. Nanda said the department has also asked existing hotel owners to have their flood lights would not affect the movement of lions.

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