'No plans on lifting Bandipur Night Traffic Ban' : Nitin Gadkari to Rahul
New Delhi, July 26: There was no plan to lift the ban on traffic movement at night traffic movement at night inside the Bandipur Tiger Reserve said Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways on Thursday.
Responding to a question by Rahul Gandhi now MP from Kerala's Wayanad, Gadkari said, "It was recommended that status quo shall be maintained on restriction of night-time traffic through Bandipur National Park, as it is a core area of wildlife habitat and an alternative route is available for night traffic, and four buses and emergency vehicles are permitted through the park."
Striking a chord with the voters in Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi asked if the government was aware of the problems that the people in North Kerala faced owing to the ban.
Gandhi further prodded if the Centre proposes to mediate to find an alternative to lift the ban "without disturbing wildlife", and whether it was "ready to amicably find a solution by calling a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Kerala and Karnataka." He also enquired if there was a proposal to construct an elevated corridor through the park.
Earlier there were reports that the central government lif the ban on nighttime traffic inside the reserved forest, following intense lobbying in Kerala.
The Karnataka High Court in 2009 imposed the night traffic ban along 42 km of two national highways passing through Bandipur considering petitions seeking protection to wildlife as many animals were run over by vehicles at night.
The Kerala government filed an appeal and the issue remains unresolved. Though there were proposals for elevated highways, it was also met with opposition.
The National Highway (NH-212) connects Kollegal in Karnataka with Kozhikhode in Kerala via Mysuru. Out of the total 272 km length, 34.60 km length of this highway passes through the Bandipur and Wayanad National Park.
Night traffic through Bandipur Tiger Reserve, located in Mysore and Chamrajnagar districts in Karnataka, has been a contentious issue between Kerala and Karnataka.
The Bandipur road connecting Sulthan Batheri in Kerala with Mysuru and Bengaluru is the shortest route. The alternative route in the night takes a long detour, which the traders from Kerala want to avoid.