Centre lifts night traffic ban

Centre lifts night traffic ban

Setback for environmentalists fighting to save animals in Bandipur forest

Centre lifts night traffic ban

The Union Ministry has recently directed its Regional Officer in Bangalore, to take appropriate legal steps to restore the night traffic on Gundlupet-Ooty (NH-67) and Gundlupet-Wayanad (NH-212) roads. Both NHs are owned and maintained by the Union Ministry.

Besides, official sources said, Union Surface Transport Minister Kamal Nath too has written a letter to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa recently in this regard.
Presently, the Karnataka High Court has stayed the Chamarajnagar Deputy Commissioner’s order withdrawing the ban on movement of vehicles during night hours -- 9 pm to 6 am -- on these routes.

Environmentalists are claiming that hundreds of wild animals, many rare and endangered species, are getting crushed under speeding vehicles during night hours.
The State Government has already made its stand clear in an interlocutory application filed before the HC in November 2009: It had urged to allow traffic movement and stated that inter-State trade has been affected. However, the HC refused to vacate the stay.
It was on the direction from the CM, the Chamarajnagar DC withdrew the order banning night traffic on June 10, 2009. The DC had banned the night traffic just a week ago in an order dated June 3, 2009.

According to official sources, a delegation of elected representatives and Transporters from Kerala led by Sulthan Bathery MLA Krishna Prasad met Kamal Nath and urged his intervention. Kerala leaders are opposing the traffic ban on the grounds that it has adversely hit the economy in their State.

Karnataka is the major source of vegetables for Kerala. Nearly 400 trucks of vegetables are transported everyday to Kerala from the State. And transportation during the night is crucial to Kerala traders.

Official sources in State NH division said the Union Ministry is planning to challenge the State Government’s power to regulate night traffic on NHs. “The Chamarajnagar district DC ordered ban on traffic without consulting the State NH. Though traffic regulation comes under State Government, there is a legal provision for the Union Ministry to intervene into the issue if it is related to two States,” officials pointed out.
The Karnataka Government is learnt to be exploring ways to find a solution that would ensure protection to wildlife also. “One of the plans include allowing night traffic in a controlled way.

The forest department officials would lead a convoy of trucks both to and fro. This exercise can be done twice in a night from both sides,” official sources said.
DH News Service

*June 3, 2009,
Chamarajnagar DC bans night traffic movement
*June 10, DC withdraws his order following the CM’s direction
*Environmentalists claim animals coming under wheels due to overspeeding of vehicles.
*Karnataka HC stays the DC’s June 10 order in July 2009
*Kerala mounts pressure on both State & Centre to ensure night traffic
*Union Surface Transport Ministry intervenes & wants night traffic restored