Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gir lion safari permits go 100% online

| TNN | Dec 8, 2015, 07.16 AM IST
AHMEDABAD: From now on, all permits for lion safari in Gir Sanctuary will have to be obtained online. Forest department authorities took the step after they found touts selling permits to visitors, and that many bonafide visitors faced issues. Principal chief conservator of forest, SC Pant, said permits for Gir Forest tours will be issued totally online, and those who wish to visit the sanctuary without obtaining online permits will have to be content with visiting Devaliya Interpretation Zone.

The decision to go online was taken after forest department found rampant misuse of permits by beat guards and even taxi drivers.

Officials said during Diwali vacation, taxi drivers and beat guards were found jamming the queue for permits, and later found selling permits to guests at high rates. The raids to catch touts was conducted when Pant was in Sinh Sadan.

"This was the demand of the tourism department ever since online permits began to be issued. The step would increase the chance of visitors from outside Gujarat to obtain permits," said an officer.

Deputy conservator of forest, Sandeep Kumar, said that "In order to prevent any mischief, we have decided that each visitor will have to submit identity proof. For example, if one person was applying for permits of six people, he would have to submit ID proof for each person. A maximum of six persons can tour on a single permit. The department will give refunds in cases of cancellation."

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