No decision on elevated road in Bandipur

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The Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) has not taken any decision yet on the proposal for the elevated road on NH-212 (Bandipur- Wayanad road).

Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, MoEF&CC, on Monday, said no decision was taken on roads cutting through Bandipur Tiger Reserve, and construction of the elevated road in the forest patch.

Speaking to media on the sidelines of the inauguration of the 14th National Silviculture conference in Bengaluru, he said, "Conservation cannot be looked at in isolation. Conservation and development should go hand-in-hand, but protection cannot be compromised.

He said: “Talks were being held with Kerala government to not touch the forest. Discussions are going on pertaining to the elevated road, widening of the road and alternate routes. There is a need to save Bandipur Tiger Reserve and so MoEF has been trying to convince the Kerala government to use the alternate route which is open and largely accessed.”

The Kerala Chief Minister's Office on December 1, tweeted: “Solution to the traffic woes of Bandipur-Wayanad stretch. CM Pinarayi Vijayan gave permission for the state to bear 50% of the cost for constructing 5 one-km-long flyovers on NH 212 to facilitate night-time travel. It is estimated that the project will cost ₹500 Cr.” (sic)

MoEF officials had recently conducted a survey of the roads that pass through Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the efforts taken by the Karnataka government to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the alternate route. The MoEF had also noted that the toll booth at the Karnataka-Kerala border on the alternate route was removed to ensure easy passage of Kerala-bound vehicles.

Karnataka government has opposed Kerala’s proposal to allow night traffic through the tiger reserve and the proposed elevated road.

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