The Karnataka Forest Department (Project Tiger Division of Bandipur) has come up with two alternative roads after the Karnataka High Court on August 5, 2009, banned movement of vehicles at night on two national highways passing through the Bandipur wildlife sanctuary.

The alternative roads have been suggested by the Bandipur division to its higher-ups. The division has asked senior officials to rope in other agencies to ensure that the ban on night traffic was effectively implemented and that motorists make use of the alternate roads.

In a letter to the Chief Conservator of Forests on August 6, 2009, the division had enumerated the steps it had taken to comply with the court orders banning movement of vehicles on National Highway No. 212 and National Highway No. 67.

Traffic congestion

It says after the interim order was passed, all night-time traffic was stopped at all the gates of the forests in a joint operation by the police and forest staff.

The sudden blockade resulted in a queue of more than 300 vehicles at each of the four gates.

Consultations

With more vehicles coming towards the forest and with the threat of a massive traffic hold-up looming large, the division said it consulted several people before deciding to permit vehicles to move into the forest.

The division said it decided to create more awareness among the people about the ban and, therefore, proposed to take up an action plan to be implemented in a phased manner. It had already sought the help of the National Highways in constructing speed-breakers on roads where animal crossings are frequent. It will install signs and hoardings at crucial places. Barricades would be placed at strategic places to ensure that the night ban is strictly implemented.

Check gates

Four police checking gates have come up at entry and exit points of both the national highways. The division said it wants district-level committees involving all departments to implement the night traffic ban. It said it had identified two alternate roads for movement of traffic. National Highway No. 212 now is from Mysore-Kalpetta via Sultan Bathery, and this is 140 km long.

It says the alternate road would be from Mysore to Hunsur, Ponnampet and Kalbetta which would mean traversing an additional 38 km.

Similarly, the 127-km Mysore-Gundlupet road could be rerouted through Mysore to Chamarajanagar and from there to Satyamangalam, Mettupalyam, and Ooty. This would mean an additional distance of 74 km.

Management

It said management of night traffic outside the forests was the responsibility of the Revenue, Motor Vehicle, Public Works and National Highways departments.

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