BENGALURU: Bus drivers of Chamarajanagara division have been directed to adhere to 30 kilometres/hour maximum speed when traversing the protected areas (PA) and reserve forest areas. The district which has four PAs has seen many incidents of road kills due to speeding vehicles in the recent past.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC)'s divisional controller has directed the depot managers of Nanjungud, Gundlupete, Kollegala and Chamarajanagara and all drivers and staff to regulate the speed of vehicles in forest areas. He has also asked the managers to spread awareness among drivers on the need of saving and protecting wildlife.
Wildlife activists have hailed the decision and appealed for implementing this order in all forest areas throughout the state.
"In Kudremukh National Park limits, many wild animals, including reptiles and endangered lion-tailed macaques, have been killed of late. In Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Mookambika, Agumbe, and Kali tiger reserve also, the road kills are pretty high. The transport commissioner should strictly regulate vehicle speed below 30 kmph in the protected and reserve forest areas. Not just buses, even for lorries, cars, bikes and other vehicles, the speed limit should be fixed at below 30 kmph," said wildlife activist G Veeresh.
Concerted efforts yield results
The campaign to stop vehicles from overspeeding in this division has been on for over six months now. In view of the steep rise in road kills in Chamarajanagara district, Sanjay Gubbi, State Wildlife Board member and wildlife organizations appealed and wrote to both transport and forest authorities to regulate the speed of both private and government vehicles to 30 kilometres per hour in this district. According to Gubbi, Chamrajanagara district comprises four PAs- Bandipur, BRT tiger reserve, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. "On the roads that traverse these PAs, accidents have resulted in the death of tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, deer and many other species." Santhosh and Mahadev Prasad of NGO Vana Jagruthi also urged the RTO to fix speed limit of 30 kmph in PAs as per NTCA guidelines. The PCCF and Head of Forest Force too appealed to commissioner, transport to fix the speed limit.