Kerala will seek restricted traffic along the portion of the National Highway passing through the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka during night time, if the road cannot be fully opened for night traffic.

Karnataka has decided to extend the ban on night traffic along the Sultan Battery-Guldalpet sector of the High way connecting Kozhikode to Mysore from six to nine hours from Tuesday. This would hit movement of goods and tourists besides regular traffic.

The Kerala government is of the view that traffic could be allowed by imposing checks or other restrictions, official sources here said. The Forest Department could impose speed checks or introduce a convoy system for night time traffic.

The proposed all-party delegation, headed by Transport Minister Jose Thettayil, would be leaving for Karnataka this week itself to take up the issue with the Karnataka government. The Kerala government has also moved the Karnataka High Court since the ban was imposed on the basis of a court order.

The State would challenge the contention that night time traffic was a serious threat to wildlife in the National Park. Statistics showed that the wildlife population in the Park had actually increased, the sources said.

According to ecologist S. Sathis Chandran Nair, a long-term perspective plan should be worked out for harmonising road transport, habitat and wildlife protection along this part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

In an article published on the Internet, Dr. Nair said that traffic along the Kozhikode - Mysore route had been growing exponentially. It was necessary to restrict all vehicle movement along the three most important inter-State routes connecting Wayanad to the neighbouring States at least for a few limited hours (between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. within the forest tract).

He also suggested that speed limits should be imposed by installing speed breaks, humps and by conducting checks by forest patrols. Sign boards should be set up to warn vehicles of the possibility of encountering wild animals and the necessity to drive carefully and slowly.