Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s meeting with his Karnataka counterpart to discuss the night traffic ban on the Bandipur- Sulthan Bathery route (NH 212) has once again failed to yield any substantial result.
The meeting was held at the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Thursday.
The closure of vehicular traffic through the two highways passing through the Bandipur Wildlife National Park is based on the order of the High Court of Karnataka, issued on March 9, 2010, and the matter is at present pending before the Supreme Court in SLP (Civil) 13838/2010, 24865 and 24866/2012.
Both NHs are owned and maintained by the Union Ministry. Ever since, vehicular movement on this route has been remaining restricted between 9 pm and 6 am.
This was the third meeting initiated by the Kerala Government with the chief ministers of Karnataka during the last two years to end the deadlock.
Oommen Chandy had earlier held talks with Karnataka chief ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar, but to no avail.
At the end of Thursday’s meeting, both chief ministers maintained complete silence over the night traffic ban and repeated that parallel routes would be the only solution to the issue.
They announced that four alternative routes were under consideration and a committee comprising the chief engineers of the respective Public Works Department would be directed to weigh options.
The Chief secretaries of the two states would oversee the committee. The alternative routes proposed are Mysore-Gonikoppa-Kutta- Kalpetta, Mysore-Bavali- Mananthavady, Mysore-Virajpet- Kannur and via Mysore-Bylakuppe-Iritti.
The Karnataka Government had released `48 crore for upgrading the first alternative road passing through Hunsur and Kattikulam.
“The meeting was merely an eyewash. Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar had also put forth the same proposal after his meeting with Oommen Chandy in January.
The meeting was an election stunt eyeing the 2014 Lok Sabha polls,” alleged CPM district secretary C K Saseendran.
He added that the ban on vehicular traffic along NH 212 and 67 at night could be lifted only through a special ordinance issued by the Centre.
Notably, out of the four alternative routes proposed by the Karnataka Government, two are existing ones, while getting environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment for constructing the remaining two roads is nearly impossible as they would pass through dense forest areas.
The proposed Mysore-Bavali- Mananthavady and Mysore- Bylakuppe-Iritti routes will certainly face environmental issues,” said Nilgiris-Wayanad Railway NH Action Committee convener Adv T M Rasheed.