Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Taj Group's resort in Gir gets SC relief

TNN | Dec 11, 2015, 07.13 AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Supreme Court has stayed the Gujarat high court's order by which the Taj Group's luxury resort which falls in the Gir sanctuary , the last abode of the Asiatic lion, was sealed.

With the stay on the HC order, Hotel Taj Gateway can now start functioning, at least till the final decision by the apex court on the issue. This hotel was closed during a sealing drive carried out in March-April at the high court's instance because most hospitality units around Gir sanctuary were functioning in gross violation of the eco-tourism policy . The HC refused to un-seal it when the hotel management approached it on April 13. They hence moved the apex court. Experts believe the SC's intervention and relief to the luxury resort run by Indian Hotels Company Ltd has paved the way for other hospitality units facing action for violation of norms to also seek redress. They may approach the high court citing the SC order and claim relief by requesting the court to direct authorities to remove the seals on numerous rooms in guest houses across three districts. When the HC was intimated about the apex court's order, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and V M Pancholi asked additional advocate general Prakash Jani to find out whether the proceedings should be stalled till the SC reaches a final conclusion in this case. The HC has deferred proceedings till next month. In this case, the Centre gave land to the state government in 1971. This particular plot was leased to Gujarat tourism. The hotel group got a 20-year lease in 1994 and the hotel was constructed. The lease was renewed last year. However, the mandatory permission from the National Board of Wildlife was not obtained and hence the forest department did not issue an NOC to operate the hotel inside the sanctuary.

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