HDK breaks silence, says Bandipur traffic ban stays

HDK breaks silence, says Bandipur traffic ban stays


Putting to rest the controversy over night traffic through Bandipur, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday evening tweeted that the existing ban would continue. Communicating his stand on the issue, the chief minister also tweeted that building an elevated road would also not be feasible.

Despite mounting protests and a bitter backlash by the public and conservationists for over two days, the chief minister had refused to comment on the issue. However, with many joining the protest, Kumaraswamy was quick to take a call and ordered the continuation of the existing ban.

Earlier in the day, Kumaraswamy had stated that he is yet to take a call on the matter. “The Centre has written to the state seeking its consent (on lifting the night traffic ban or construction of flyovers through the reserve). The government has not taken any decision on this matter,” Kumaraswamy had told reporters. PWD Minister H D Revanna too contended that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had only written to the state government seeking its consent over the matter.

With the issue cropping up repeatedly following pressure from powerful lobbies, the State Wildlife Board members had also suggested to the chief minister scientific alternatives. State Wildlife Board member and conservationist Sanjay Gubbi had written to the chief minister suggesting alternatives, including an elevated road along the edge of the park instead of through it.

In his letter, accessed by DH, Gubbi had stated, “The alternative road (SH-90) developed by the Karnataka government as directed by the High Court passes through the corner of Nagarahole for 9.8 km from Allur Gate to Thitimati. The government can consider building an elevated road on this stretch. Further, the same highway passes through the corner of Wayanad forest area for about 8.7 km and an elevated road be built on the same stretch. As the road passes through the border of the national park in both the states, the damage may not be the same as an existing road cutting through the heart of the Tiger Reserve.”

However, Gubbi said that if the government opts for the elevated road, it must decommission the existing road. Sources in the PWD said the government has sought a report on MoRTH’s letter to the state government from NHAI's chief engineer.