BENGALURU: Reacting to the outrage over reports of the state government’s decision to lift the night traffic ban inside Bandipur Tiger Reserve and also proposal to construct elevated corridors within the tiger reserve, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday asserted that the ban on vehicle movement during night will continue. He also stated that construction of elevated road in the reserve forest is not feasible. Forest Minister R Shankar too has assured that the government will not lift the ban.
“I do not know why the media is creating unnecessary confusion over the issue which is before the Supreme Court. The state government has not taken any decision to lift the night traffic ban,” Kumaraswamy said.
Public Works Department (PWD) minister HD Revanna too assured the same. A five-member committee comprising Chief Secretaries of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Secretary of Union Ministry of Forest and Environment and Chief Engineer of National Highways, Bengaluru region has been constituted under the direction of the Supreme Court to suggest measures for suitable transport system between Gundlupet and Sultanbateri following Kerala’s plea for lifting the night traffic ban,Revanna said.
The Union Surface Transport ministry has in a letter dated July 21 this year sought Karnataka’s assent for its proposal to build 5 elevated corridors passing through Bandipur Reserve forest and also lift night traffic ban.
“The Chief Minister will take a suitable decision keeping in mind environmental concerns and the Chief Secretary will convey it to the Committee. No final decision has been taken in this regard,” Revanna said.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Vijay Bhaskar too said that the issue will be discussed by Kumaraswamy before deciding on whether the ban should continue in one of the important tiger reserves in the country.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Forest Minister R Shankar clarified that the government will not heed to pressure from Kerala government and night ban will stay.
He said the Karnataka government is committed to continue night ban. “I strongly believe that lifting ban on night traffic will hit wildlife and the decision will be taken to protect wild animals for the future generation,” he added. Construction of flyovers will take many years and damage flora and funa, he said, adding the forest department officials are allowing few buses of state-run transport and emergency vehicles like ambulances at night inside the Bandipur National Park.