Coimbatore

CPI against banning night vehicle movements on Bannari-Dhimbam stretch

Langurs waiting for food on Dhimbam Ghat Road in Erode district. Though the Forest Department had warned people against feeding animals, the violation continues.
Staff ReporterJanuary 29, 2022 16:44 IST
Updated: January 29, 2022 16:44 IST

It will affect the livelihood of many in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, says the party

Stating that any move to ban vehicle movement on Bannari-Dhimbam stretch during night hours would affect livelihood of lakh of people in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the authorities concerned to focus on preventing accidents.

The Madras High Court had on Friday asked the Erode Collector, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Forest Department and authorities concerned to convene a meeting with stakeholders before February 18 to implement vehicle ban at nights on the stretch of the Coimbatore–Bengaluru National Highway 959 that passes through the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR).

On Saturday, former Bhavanisagar MLA P.L. Sundaram chaired a meeting in Sathyamangalam in which office-bearers from Talavadi, Bhavanisagar and Sathyamangalam took part. Members said the issue of banning night traffic should not be confined just to wildlife protection, but should be seen in a wider perspective. It was related to the livelihood of people, economic activities, education and health care of over a lakh people in two States. “But the view of government officials is not so,” they said.

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It was not appropriate to compare the vehicle movement on the Mysore–Kozhikode highway with that of Dhimbam Ghat Road where vehicles moved slowly to cross the 27 hairpin bends. The district administration had imposed a night ban in 2019 that led to traffic congestion for nine hours affecting farmers, common public, patients and travellers between the two States. “When businesses suffered huge losses and government services were paralysed, vehicles were allowed later,” they added.

The road from Bannari to Dhimbam was 15 km, including the 2-km stretch to the foothills. Vehicles could move fast only on the 2-km stretch on the plains where animal crossing was frequent. The Forest Department had installed seven speed bumps in the stretch. “The death of 152 wild animals in the road had taken place before speed bumps were installed,” they added.

Identifying the animal crossing zones in the ghat road and installing speed breakers at the spots, increasing the height of speed breakers, monitoring the speed of vehicles and taking steps to prevent animal feedings would prevent accidents, they added.

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