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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2961

Bandipur National Park: ban on night vehicular traffic upsets traders

From Gopal Ethiraj

Mysore, 11 June ( The Chamrajnagar Deputy Commissioner Manojkumar Mishra has ordered banning of vehicular movement between 9 pm and 6 am along the 29 km stretch of the national highway through Bandipur National Park, which in the last four years has seen 91 cases of wild animals being killed by speedy vehicles.

The order has brought a sense of relief among wildlife activists. The Forest department district forest officer (DFO) Dr. Raju, who has conducted a detail survey of the Bandipur National Park had recommended closure of vehicular movement during nights and also shifting of the national highway to prevent road killing of animals.

The Bandipur National Park, covered under the Project Tiger from 1973, has registered an increase in its wildlife population, particularly tigers, elephants and deer in recent years. However, there was much pressure from activists to ban vehicular movement. There is also pressure on the government to not permit construction of resorts and hotels near the park.

Elephant crossing at bandipur park roadElephant crossing at bandipur park road

The ban on movement of vehicles will be apply from June 10 on NH-67, with 12.5 kms of road passing through Gundlupet - Ooty. It will also apply on NH-212, at a stretch of 17.5 kilometres from Gundlupet to Sultanbattare road, leading to Calicut in Kerala.

‘Road deaths’ higher than poaching

Studies conducted by Wildlife Conservation Foundation have proved that the road deaths of animals are higher than poaching in the last four years. The study has revealed that about 90 to 140 vehicles per day pass during the peak season for tourists and about 47 vehicles per day otherwise.

But for hundreds of passengers and traders, who rely on about 300 private and State Road Transport Corporation buses linking Mysore and Bangalore with Kozhikode in Kerala, Ooty in Tamilnadu, this arrangement is reportedly upsetting.

Joint convener of the Bangalore-based Karnataka Kerala Travelers Forum, Kunjappan said road transportation was the only route for people from Wynad and Malappuram regions to reach Bangalore. "The already limited travelling facility to the Northern part of Kerala will be further crippled if the government implements this ban," he said.

The Chamrajnagar district authorities said a meeting of the stake holders was called on June 11 to discuss the issue. The Malabar Chamber of Commerce said that since Wyanad and Karnataka had no direct railway link, people are dependent on road transport. "The ban will be detrimental to businessmen in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It will also cause considerable inconvenience to IT professionals and students from north Kerala in Bangalore," PV Gangadharan, president of the chamber, said.

Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthananthan is learnt to have got in touch with Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in this regard.

To launch an agitation

While merchants and transport operators in North Kerala appealed to the Centre, an all-party action committee was formed by the Wyanad District Panchayat to launch an agitation.

This panel reportedly was preparing to block the National Highway on Wednesday. A district-level hartal is planned to be held on Thursday.

- Asian Tribune -

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