Wednesday, July 13, 2016

GPS to track tourist safari vehicles in Gir

| TNN | Rajkot: All tourist vehicles entering the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the last abode of Asiatic lions, will have to mandatorily install Global Positioning System (GPS).

The forest department is planning to make it compulsory in order to track the tourist vehicles, mostly gypsys that operate in the sanctuary. The GPS-mounted vehicles will help forest department to locate each and vehicles that go inside the sanctuary with tourists.

"We recently held meeting with all gypsy owners who are operating these tourist vehicles in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and they have agreed to install the new system for better management of wildlife tourism. We plan operationalize this system from the next tourists' season when the sanctuary opens in October,'' Ram Ratan Nala, deputy conservator of forests, wildlife division, Sasan (Gir) told TOI.

Nala said that the idea is to ensure that tourist vehicles don't enter the areas which are not allowed or permitted for them. "Sometimes, vehicles knowingly or unknowingly enter the routes that are banned for tourists. GPS will help us locate such movements on a real-time basis. If any vehicle enters the 'no-go zone', we will get an alert," he said.

There are eight routes in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary for tourists who get vehicles from Sasan (Gir). There are 150 vehicles in Sasan (Gir) which operate as tourist vehicles in Gir Sanctuary. Forest department officials are in talks with firms that provide GPS equipment.

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The new initiative will help manage wildlife tourism better inside Gir.Vijaysinh Parmar

"Primary estimate suggests that a GPS system on vehicle costs around Rs 10,000. But if we order them on large scale, the cost might come down Rs 6,000. The cost will have to paid by gypsy owners,'' an official said.

The permits to visit Gir Sanctuary have been made online. The forest department allows 90 permits a day and it goes up to maximum 150 permits per day in holiday and festival seasons when tourist rush is more. In all, 1.32 lakh tourists visited Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in 2015-16.

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