Tiger authority for night traffic ban in Bandipur

Terming as shocking the Kerala government’s move seeking relief from night traffic ban on NH 212 and NH 67 by filing a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, S P Yadav, DIG of NTCA, has said restricting vehicular traffic during night hours along the routes is legally justified and supported under Article 51-A (g) of the Constitution.

“The Article states that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures,” he said.

Citing the orders on the Sariska Tiger Reserve and the Mysore-Mananthavadi State
Highway, where restriction was enforced following the orders of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the apex court, the DIG rubbished the claims of the petitioner that no study or survey was conducted before imposing restrictions.

He said a traffic survey conducted recently on the two roads had shown that, on an average, 30 vehicles were moving on the routes every hour at night.

“Traffic of this magnitude will cause serious disturbance in the forest and accidents resulting in deaths of wild animals. It is necessary to restrict traffic movement at night,” he said. Vehicular traffic at night facilitated poachers, hunters and smugglers to indulge in criminal acts, he said. It said the Bandipur Tiger Reserve was one of the most critical wildlife habitats in the country and supported one of the highest density of tigers in the world. It is also part of the Mysore Elephant Reserve as declared by the MoEF. He said the tiger reserve was also contiguous with Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Wayanad and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries.

Noting that there was an alternate route available to Wayanad and Ooty, the affidavit said: “The petitioner being a state owes some constitutional duty and obligation. It is surprising that instead of supporting the action, it has approached the court with an unimaginable and shocking stand. The petition is liable to be dismissed with exemplary cost.”

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