No decision on lifting night traffic ban in Bandipur

No decision on lifting night traffic ban in Bandipur

H D Kumaraswamy

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said the state government has not taken any decision on throwing open the national highway cutting through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka fornight traffic.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has recently proposed to allow night traffic and claimed that the state government had agreed to give its consent.

"Bandipur issue is already in the Supreme Court...I don't know why this issue is raised again. Our government has not taken any decision. I don't know why some people are creating controversy," Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

In a letter to the Karnataka chief secretary, MoRTH secretary Y S Malik also proposed building four elevated corridors of one km each.

MoRTH's claim that chief minister Kumaraswamy and PWD minister H D Revanna had consented to its recommendations during a meeting with Union Transport minister Nitin Gadkarihas come as a surprise to wild life conservationists as it is contrary to the stand of successive state governments.

Malik has sought the state's consent to the proposed scheme so that it can be submitted before the Supreme Court.

Following the letter from MoRTH, state chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar has sought the forest department's opinion.

A senior forest department official had yesterday told PTI on condition of anonymity, "We have opposed the lifting of the night traffic ban...mostly the file is with the chief minister's office."

Karnataka government is not allowing night traffic on the NH-212 through the forested region, inhabiting wild animals including tiger, leopards and elephants, to prevent their deaths in possible road accidents.

The movement of traffic through the tiger reserve is banned on this stretch from 9 pm to 6 am.