Ban on night traffic in Bandipur park: Travellers irked

The night ban on vehicular traffic through the Bandipur National Park - which will come into effect from June 10 - might protect wildlife, but hundreds of passengers and traders, who rely on about 300 private and State Road Transport Corporation buses linking Mysore and Bangalore with Kozhikode in Kerala, are reportedly upset.

The Chamarajnagar Deputy Commissioner had announced the ban on movement of vehicles through the Bandipur National Park stretch of National Highway 212 connecting Kozhikode and Kollegal, and NH 67. In effect, this ban from 9 pm to 6 am will stop all traffic between Gundlupet in Karnataka and Sultan Bathery in Wyanad district of Kerala.
Scores of vehicles carrying goods also take these routes during night time. Transporters from Bangalore and parts of North India also use these roads to link up with Kozhikode and North Kerala on a daily basis.

C Kunjappan, joint convener of the Bangalore-based Karnataka Kerala Travelers Forum, said road transportation was the only route for people from Wynad and Malappuram regions to reach Bangalore. “The already limited travelling facility to the Northern part of Kerala will be further crippled if the government implements this ban,” he said.

When contacted, Chamrajnagar district authorities said a meeting of the stake holders was called on June 11 to discuss the issue. A spokesman of the Malabar Chamber of Commerce said that since Wyanad and Karnataka had no direct railway link, people are dependent on road transport. “ The ban will be detrimental to businessmen in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It will also cause considerable inconvenience to IT professionals and students from north Kerala in Bangalore,” said PV Gangadharan, president of the chamber, said. He said there had not been any scientific study to justify the ban.

Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthananthan is learnt to have got in touch with Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in this regard.

 While merchants and transport operators in North Kerala appealed to the Centre,  an all-party action committee was formed by the Wyanad District Panchayat to launch an agitation.

This panel is reportedly preparing to block the National Highway on Wednesday. A district-level hartal will be held on Thursday.

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