Kerala

Glimmer of hope for State in Bandipur

SC asks Ministries to arrive at a consensus within 6 weeks

The differences of opinion between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways over the proposal to construct elevated roads through sections of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve have given a sliver of hope to the State government to tackle the night traffic ban on National Highway 766.

The contention between the two Central Ministries on the issue, in which Kerala and Karnataka have stakes, had led the Supreme Court to ask the Centre to arrive at a consensus within six weeks. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has not concurred with the project for an elevated 5-km road over Bandipur while the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is willing to construct five elevated sections, of which four will be in Bandipur and one in Wayanad.

Now, the five-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court would have to intervene in an effort to secure a joint statement of the two Ministries before the apex court, T.M. Rasheed, convener, Nilgiri-Wayanad National Railway Action Committee, which has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court in this regard, told The Hindu on Thursday.

He said the nine-year-old ban on traffic through Bandipur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. is getting more complicated with the increase in vehicles plying via the highway connecting Kozhikode to Mysuru during daytime. The State government has already agreed to share equally the tentative cost of construction of the elevated sections which has been pegged at ₹458 crore. Besides, MoRTH has agreed to share the remaining 50% of the expenditure.

Biofencing

Canopy bridges and biofencing would be adopted without disturbing the ecosystem. Further, the Forest Department would provide land in exchange for the land reconverted into forest for the length of 5 km under the elevated sections, he said.

About 35 km of the 272-km highway passes through Bandipur and the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:40:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/glimmer-of-hope-for-state-in-bandipur/article26083200.ece

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