“We had stopped issuing spot permissions as there were some issues with alignment of safari routes. But they have been sorted out now by realigning some routes. We resumed giving spot permissions from February 27 onward,” Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forest (wildlife) of Sasan Gir and superintendent of NGPWS told The Indian Express on Monday.
The forest department was forced to stop issuing spot permissions for safaris as a farmer blocked way to Bhambhafod check-post, one of the two entry-points for Safari vehicles.
The farmer had blocked the way in early February saying the dirt track leading to the Bhambhafod check-post was crossing his private land. As a result, the safari traffic had to be diverted to another entry-point on Sasan Gir-Talala road.
The chief conservator of forest (wildlife) of Junagadh division had told The Indian Express that due to the blockade, safari traffic had become unmanageable and therefore they had stopped issuing spot permissions from third week of February.
This move had halved the number of daily safaris. The only way to go on a safari in GNPWS was to get a prior permission of forest department by applying online.
However, the DCF said that spot permissions had been restored. The forest department issues 45 spot permissions and equal number of online permissions daily, allowing tourists to watch Asiatic lions in their only natural home in the wild.