Chandy to meet Siddaramaiah today on night traffic ban

Ban imposed to check death of wild animals on NH-212 linking Kerala

Chandy to meet Siddaramaiah  today on night traffic ban

To fulfil the promise he had made to the Keralites residing in Bangalore, while campaigning for the Congress candidates during the recent Assembly elections, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will be meeting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah here on Thursday urging Karnataka to lift the ban on night traffic on the National Highway-212 passing through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, which connects Kerala.

The ban has been imposed as several wild animals have been fatally knocked down by vehicles plying on the highway.

While canvassing for the Congress candidate from the Dasarahalli seat B L Shankar during the May 5 Assembly polls, Chandy had appealed to the Malayalam-speaking residents to vote for his party to ensure that the ban on night traffic is lifted.

Four months later, he will be in Bangalore to pursue the matter with his Karnataka counterpart over the issue and rail connectivity to Nilambur from Nanjangud via Sulthan Batheri.

The chief minister’s office here on Tuesday directed the Additional Chief Secretary, Forests, Ecology and Environment and Principal Secretary, Public Works Department to furnish details of the latest developments on this issue.

Based on the Karnataka High Court order of March 9, 2010 and directions of the Supreme Court, Chief Secretary S V Ranganath on June 30, 2010 submitted to the apex court to ban the night traffic after a discussion with Kerala’s Transport Minister.

Accordingly, Karnataka came out with an alternative route to Kerala as per the directions of the High Court and released Rs 48 crore for upgrading the road via Hunsur-Gonikoppa-Kutta-Kartikulam, which is 30 km longer than the NH-212 stretch. The work is now almost complete.

Rail project

In the subsequent days, a petition was also filed before the National Green Tribunal, Chennai, by Wayanad-based Nilgiris Wayanad National Highway and Railway Action Committee, demanding a railway line to Nilambur, passing through the core areas of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. This application too has sought for lifting of the night ban. Sources in Forest department said that the survey report submitted to the Railway Board on May 24, 2013 has put the project cost at  Rs 4266.88 crore.

In December 2012, Chandy had met the then chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda in this regard. Gowda had told Chandy that he cannot intervene as the matter was sub judice. With the Congress in power, the Kerala government is now making another attempt.

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