BENGALURU: With increasing road kills, wildlife activists have called for restoration of night traffic ban from 6 pm to 6 am through State Highway 30 that runs through Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR). Activists said the earlier 12-hour ban should be enforced instead of the prevailing nine hours from 9 pm to 6 am. District forest officials say the issue will be discussed with locals and volunteers and a decision will be taken soon.
Between 2010 and 2017, it is estimated that 70-80 large mammals were killed in road and rail accidents in Belagavi and Uttara Kannada districts. State Highways 30, 31 and 34, NH-4A and 11 other road stretches too have seen a high number of road kills.
Giridhar Kulkarni, a wildlife activist, said, “We have appealed to the Chief Conservator of Forests, Belagavi Circle, to intervene in this matter and direct authorities to reimpose the 6 pm-6 am ban strictly. We have also requested that the matter be discussed with the director of KTR to maintain uniformity over the timing.” Belagavi CCF Krishna Udapudi told Express, “We are examining the issue. I will call a meeting with wildlife volunteers and the wildlife warden in a week to discuss the matter. However, we have to take the local people into confidence, convince them and explain the benefit of extending the ban for another three hours.”
Confusion over timings
At present, there is no uniformity in the timings of night traffic ban between Bhimgad and KTR, resulting in confusion and problems for road users. The night traffic ban (6 pm to 6 am) came into effect from November 2015 in Bhimgad. KTR adopted it a month later. However, in April 2016, this order was changed claiming that KTR was following the ban from 9 pm and this was causing inconvenience to people. However, KTR authorities denied this saying the ban was effective for 12 hours in their area. Later the ban on vehicular movement was reduced from 12 to 9 hours as they wanted uniformity.
Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, contiguous with KTR, is an important tiger habitat. As per MoEF guidelines, night traffic ban should be applied in core/critical tiger habitat/national parks and sanctuaries by providing passes to local people so that the night ban does not affect their daily life.
Activists say there is already an alternative route via NH-4A which is 14km longer compared to the existing stretch and is in good condition which commuters can use without any difficulty.