Thursday, December 3, 2009

Girnar Mountain Parvat Hill Ropeway Project News Gujarat India

Ramesh to visit Mount Girnar to take stock of ropeway project.

With the environmental panel’s nod, the ropeway project at Mount Girnar in Junagadh now awaits the green signal from the Wildlife Panel, appointed by the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment — following objections by the National Board of Wildlife.

Union Minister for Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh is likely to visit Junagadh to take stock of the situation before the Wildlife Panel takes its decision. The minister’s visit will focus on the project’s impact on the vulture population in the region, given its importance as a roosting and nesting centre.

He is scheduled to conduct a survey of the site.
S K Nanda, state Principal Secretary, Forest and Environment, said: “The minister is likely to visit on December 5. He will check if the project threatens the birds.”

Over 7 hectares of forest area has been diverted for the project at an investment of Rs 89.31 crore, which has raised many eyebrows. Ropeway service cabins by Usha Breco Limited, each with a capacity of eight passengers, will pass over 1,700 meters of forest land. The ropeway, with a capacity of 1,000 passengers per hour, will start from the Girnar foothills and terminate near the Ambaji Temple at the top of mountain. Though the company and the Forest Department have carried out compensatory afforestation on 7 hectares in Toraniya plot, environmental groups have expressed apprehension over the damage to ecology.

According to the Gir Nature Club, vulture is a Schedule-I bird and the project will cause disturbance.
Planned in 1968, the project has been delayed for various reasons.

After a foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2007, the National Board for Wildlife had deferred its decision to approve the state government project in spite of the strong representation by the state in its favor. Home to the Asiatic lions, Girnar forest is spread across 1,800 square kilometer.

It includes Mount Girnar, which is an important pilgrimage place, especially for the Jain community.
Earlier, a section of Jains was against the project as the ropeway service would commercialize an important religious site.

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