Activists suggest keeping Bandipur night traffic ban

Activists suggest keeping Bandipur night traffic ban

The wildlife activists and the stakeholders from Karnataka want to maintain status quo on the movement of vehicles on National Highway passing through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

They made their stand clear at a programme organised by the Institution of Engineers here on Sunday.

The activists from Karnataka also opined that there should not be a total ban (24X7) of traffic on National Highway 212 (766) at Bandipur Tiger Reserve - from Gundlupet to Sultan Batheri in Kerala.

C Narayanagowda, president of Mysuru Hotel Owners’ Association said that a complete traffic ban would severely affect hotel as well as the tourism sector. “The association supports night traffic ban but, the vehicles must be allowed during day,” he said.

According to him, a journey during the night inside the forest regions is dangerous for both wildlife and travellers. The chances of criminal activities such as hunting, smuggling, accidents, would go up, he opined.

Subhash of Gundlupet said, NH 212 and NH-67 (Gundlupet-Ooty Road), are the lifeline of the people of Gundlupet. According to him, the farmers largely depend on Kerala to sell vegetables and rice. Thousands of people will be affected if traffic completely banned. He supported for night traffic ban but opposed complete traffic ban.

Gopinath, an advocate from Wayanad, suggested that night traffic ban should be lifted. “Night traffic is a fundamental right of every citizen and the ban is violative of the National Highways  Act. “We have concern for wildlife and ecology but, Forest department should take measures to protect wildlife,” he said.

He said that thousands of labourers travel between Gundlupet and Wayanad for daily bread. In addition, farmers and vegetable vendors depend on the road for business. “Complete ban would affect the common people. Even night ban should be lifted,” he said.

Balagopalan, a retired IAS officer from Wayanad suggested a “sensible” decision on the issue as ecology and wildlife were more important. As per a report, 70% of roadkills of wild animals is reported during the night. The night traffic ban was imposed a decade ago and the wild animals are used to it, he said.

Radakrishna of Wayanad said that the people of Wayanad were totally dependent on Karnataka for vegetable and rice. A complete ban would be a disastrous situation, he said.

In his keynote address, retired Major General S G Vombatkere said that a pragmatic solution need to be evolved on the issue. “The Supreme Court has suggested to look for a alternative road and has not directed complete traffic ban. We have to protect and conserve our forests and ecosystem in the interest of children. Meanwhile, we cannot neglect the interest of the people of Kerala and Karnataka,” he pointed out.

Muthanna of Coorg Wildlife Society apprehended that total ban through Bandipur would increase traffic density in Kodagu. A large number of vehicles pass through Kodagu district during night. The alternative road to connect Mysuru and Wayanad is Hunsur-Gonikoppal-Kutta, also in Kodagu district.

Founder of the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysuru  Lakshmana, said, the outcome of the discussion would be submitted to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, National Highways Authority of India and Karnataka government. The Association was one of the organisers of the

Wildlife photographers B S Krupakar and Senani Hegde, Rajkumar Devaraje Urs, Managing trustee of Wildlife Conservation Foundation and others were present.