Help us in SC on Bandipur traffic ban: Chandy tells Siddu

Help us in SC on Bandipur traffic ban: Chandy tells Siddu

Kerala government today requested Karnataka not to oppose in Supreme Court a proposal to allow movement of vehicles in convoys through Bandipur Tiger Reserve, linking parts of Kerala, where a night ban on traffic is in force.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah here to plead the state's case.

Chandy said the Supreme Court had in 2010 put forward a direction  -- as an "immediate remedy" -- on allowing night traffic of vehicles in convoys but Karnataka Chief Secretary S V Ranganath pointed out to him today that Kerala had opposed such a move then.

"We have (now) decided to approach the Supreme Court (pleading for allowing movement in convoys). We have requested the Chief Minister to please help us in Supreme Court. I hope that they will consider the question," Chandy said.

The issue of night traffic ban in Bandipur (between 9 PM and 6 AM) is before the Supreme Court. The ban had been imposed as many wild animals had been fatally knocked down by vehicles plying on this highway.

"Because of ban on night travel, people (Wayanad and Kozhikode districts in Kerala who want to come from Mysore) are very much affected, and a lot of difficulties are there", Chandy said.

He said there are four proposals on alternative routes -- Mysore-Hunsur-Gonikoppa-Kutta-Kalpetta, Mysore-Bavali-Manathavady and Virajpet-Kannur as well the one via Bylukuppe bridge to Wayanad from Mysore.

Siddaramaiah said road works in these areas are in progress and his government had released about Rs 49 crore for their development, but passage via Bylukuppe faced environmental hurdles.

It was decided at the meeting to constitute a committee under the Chairman of Karnataka PWD Secretary, with Kerala Chief Engineer (Roads) and Karnataka Chief Engineer (Communcations and Buildings) to monitor such road works on both sides. Chief Secretaries of the two States would oversee this committee.

Chandy said both the states decided to approach the Union Railway and Environment Ministries to clear a proposal on Nanjanagud-Nilambur rail line via Sultan Batheri, even as he acknowledged that "there are some difficulties regarding environmental clearance".

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