Thursday, June 9, 2011

Realtors push for hsg projects in Gir.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN, Jun 6, 2011, 06.15am ISTAHMEDABAD: Gujarat's upwardly mobile citizens would love to live in the company of wild Gir lions. Or at least that is what many realtors seem to believe. As many as 28 applications for housing projects in the vicinity of Gir sanctuary and other lion abodes in the region, are pending with the forest department.
The proposals have come at a time when the central government had just approved eco-sensitive zone around Gir, the only home of the Asiatic lion in the world. This severely restricts any fresh development in a five-km radius around the sanctuary. The forest department has to give a no-objection certificate before the collectorate gives the final stamp of approval to the projects. "Buy a home in the grand lion villa." This is now some of the builders are promoting their high-end schemes. This trend has alarmed environmentalists and wildlife activists. They point out that lions were moving out of the sanctuary to reclaim lost lands. The May 2011 census had put their population at 411 in the region.
TOI posed as an investor and spoke to several developers. Paresh Sakhiya, who has his project in Mendarda taluka's Amrapar area says, "The price of a 300-yard residential plot is Rs 2,150 per sq yard. The area has a sizeable lion population and is about seven km from Gir sanctuary." Sakhiya called his scheme a good holiday home as it was close to the sanctuary.
Realtor Jayesh Patel, too, has a project near Mendarda, with each villa spread over an acre and priced at Rs 75 lakh. There would be 12 farmhouses equipped with CCTV cameras and swimming pools. HS Singh, Gujarat additional principal conservator of forests, said, "We are studying housing projects and will disallow them if they infringe on the eco-sensitive zone." AM Parmar, Junagadh collector said, "We have not approved any project."

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