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Junagadh: Palanquin-bearers at Mount Girnar to get 104 shops


By: Express News Service | Rajkot |

Published: August 2, 2020 11:33:18 pm

Jawahar Chavda, gujarat tourism minister, Girnar ropeway, Girnar ropeway project, Girnar ropeway shops construction, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, Gujarat Tourism Minister Jawahar Chavda. (Twitter@@JawaharChavda)
With the Girnar ropeway project nearing its completion, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) has decided to construct 104 shops for palanquin-bearers whose livelihood is likely to be affected once the ropeway becomes operational.

On Saturday, Tourism Minister Jawahar Chavda laid the foundation stone of the project to construct 104 shops for palanquin-bearers in the parking lot opposite the District Panchayat Guest House in Bhavnath Taleti, the foothill of mount Girnar, in Junagadh district. TCGL, the state government body mandated to promote tourism in the state, will construct these shops at the cost of Rs 1.14 crore, with the Minister adding that the shops will be handed over the beneficiaries free of cost within a year.

After wildlife and green hurdles facing the ropeway project, the livelihood of palanquin-bearers was a major challenge for the project. The palanquin-bearers had moved the Gujarat High Court (HC) in 2016, opposing the project on the grounds that they would lose their livelihood as once the ropeway becomes operational, few would hire their services to climb the Mount Girnar. “But we had given an undertaking to the HC that we shall take care of their livelihood. In fulfilment of that undertaking, the government is giving shops to these palanquin-bearers free of cost,” Chavda told The Indian Express on Sunday.

The parking lot is also where those wanting to go up the mountain top by riding the ropeway would have to park their vehicles. The ground station of the ropeway project is around 500 metres from the guesthouse.

Bhavnath Taleti borders the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary which is also home to endangered Asiatic lions. A few wildlife conservationists have raised eyebrows at the proposed shopping complex. However, the Minister said that the TCGL has secured environmental clearance and completed other formalities.

“These will be small shops, measuring eight-feet-by-eight-feet and it will be a ground floor-plus-one-floor structure. So, not much land will be used for the constriction. We shall construct these shops on the periphery of the parking lot so that enough space remains available for vehicle parking,” Chavda further said.

The Minister said that the ropeway project is likely to be inaugurated after three months. “We are running behind schedule due to the lockdown following the outbreak of coronavirus. It will be inaugurated after around three months once some technical and safety matters are fixed,” he said.

Ramesh Bavaliya, president of Girnar Doli Majoor Mandal, an association of palanquin-bearers, said that the shops would help them sustain even after the ropeway – which will connect Bhavnath Taleti Ambaji Temple on Mount Girnar – becomes operational. “We shall set up eateries and sell toys and other items from these shops,” an official release from the government quoted Bavaliya as saying.

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