BENGALURU: Officials of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will submit its affidavit to the Supreme Court agreeing to the proposal to strengthen and upgrade the alternative Mysuru- Mananthwadi Road via Gonikuppa.
While the NTCA, in its affidavit, is proposing to upgrade the alternative road to national highway standards, in the next step, it will propose putting some restrictions on the movement of vehicles on this road during night hours as it passes through the buffer zone of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
The proposal has also got the support of the Karnataka Forest Department, which is working on proposing to the Supreme Court to close all roads passing through protected areas and alternative roads be strengthened instead. The Forest Department gave its backing for this proposal after a report from the Wildlife Institute of India showed that closing down traffic completely on the road connecting Bandipur and the southern part of Nagarhole tiger reserves has helped improve the wildlife population.
This development was after the Ministry of Road Transport and National Highways on Friday submitted to the apex court that they have agreed to consider alternative routes connecting Mysuru and Kerala.
While the Transport Ministry, in its affidavit, suggested that state highway-90 (Hunsur- Talacauvery) and state highway-89 (Madikeri- Kutta), Thalasseri- Bavali Road and Katikullam- Tholpatti can be used, the court directed them to find the best alternative route and submit its final report in six weeks.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority is proposing to submit its affidavit on Monday. It will state that the 35-36 km road (NH-212 also known as NH-766 passing through Mysuru- Gundlupet, Sulthan Bathery and Kozhikode) passing through the core critical tiger area of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, which is one of the finest tiger habitats in the country, should be closed. This was also suggested by the court, sources told The New Sunday Express.
It will also be suggested that since the alternative road —Mysuru-Hunsur, Gonikuppa, Kutta and Mananthwadi — also passes through the buffer zone of Bandipur, it cannot be widened as requested by Kerala.
To protect wildlife in the buffer zone, the NTCA would propose that this alternative road should also have restrictions on the movement of vehicles at night, source said.
A committee comprising officials from NTCA, National Highways and Ministry of Environment and Forests, who surveyed NH-212 and the alternative route in September, had also agreed that alternative routes should be strengthened. The NTCA will also submit this report to the court.