Kerala

New plan to overcome Bandipur traffic ban

Multiple proposals have been placed before Kerala and Karnataka governments

Multiple proposals have been tabled before the Kerala and the Karnataka governments to wriggle out of the 10-year-old Bandipur night traffic ban crisis even as the case comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court on October 14.

The apex court has asked the Centre to submit alternative suggestions after a proposal of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to construct five elevated structures along the National Highway passing through the Bandipur National Park was shot down by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

Overbridges

It is learnt that one of the alternatives is to build small road overbridges to protect the existing animal paths on the highway with optimum span width instead of the proposed one-kilometre stretch of the highway.

“With the help of field staff, local tribes and other inhabitants, and environment experts, it will be easy to locate all the animal paths cutting the road even during the daytime,” O. Jayarajan, former deputy conservator of forests and member of several government committees, told The Hindu on Thursday.

Parallel tunnel

The construction of a parallel road tunnel to the Kabani tunnel proposed in the Thalassery-Mysuru rail line is another proposal.

Alignment

The alignment of this rail line is between the buffer zone of the Nagerhole and Bandipur National Parks, by providing a lengthy tunnel from the Kerala border to the Udbur portion of Karnataka for 12 km.

“Such a road tunnel can connect Mysuru and Kalpetta in the shortest distance. The Kalpetta- Mysuru road via the Kabani road tunnel can stand as an alternative road instead of the Muthanga-Gundlupet road along the National Highway from Kozhikode to Bengaluru causing no threat to the wildlife in either State,” he said.

A proposed alternative national highway from Kozhikode to Mysuru is from Puthiyangadi (Kozhikode) to Mysuru via Perambra-Thottilpalam-Mananthavady-Panavally-Appapara- Kutta-Kanoor- Belale-Hunsur.

The proposed road does not cut across any of the protected areas and forest clearance would be easier, Mr. Jayarajan said.

Only permissible route

Now the only permissible route for night traffic from Mysuru to Wayanad is through Hunsur- Gonikoppal- Kutta- Tholpetty- Mananthavady.

In due course, this route will also invite objection as the road passes through the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary along the Tholpetty-Kattikulam stretch.

So an alternative National Highway from Kozhikode to Mysore without cutting across any of the protected areas of both States should be thought of.

However, all these are likely to be objected by Karnataka as the routes pass through heavy wildlife habitats of protected as well as ecosensitive areas.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:48:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/new-plans-to-beat-bandipur-traffic-ban/article29647463.ece

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