Green Minute News
In a shocking about turn, Rahul Gandhi has appealed to the Centre for lifting of night traffic ban that is enforced between 9 pm to 6 am in Bandipur National Park. The Wayanad MP has questioned the Centre if it was aware of the hardships faced by large number of people living in the north Malabar due to the continuing night traffic ban on NH-212 in Bandipur.
He has further stated in an unstarred question in Lok Sabha that whether the Centre proposes to mediate by finding out an alternative way to lift the night traffic ban without disturbing the wildlife. Unaware of the developments and the ongoing litigation in the Supreme Court and the intervention of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the former President of the Congress party demonstrates his sheer ignorance on the issue of the Bandipur ban.
Rahul Gandhi asks whether the Centre is proposing to take up the elevated corridor project in tiger reserve and in this regard, has it conducted any feasibility or viability studies. The MP seems to be totally ignorant of the fact that his own party led governments in Karnataka has vetoed for decades any lifting of the ban or construction of any elevated corridor in the tiger reserve. In fact, he calls for an amicable settlement of the issue and a meeting between the two states of Kerala and Karnataka forgetting that the chief ministers of the two states have met on this matter umpteen times with Karnataka reiterating its clear stand time and again.
Fortunately, the Centre on its part has said the ban on NH-766 (earlier 212) which was imposed by Chamrajnagar district authorities on 3.6.2009 was upheld by the Karnataka High Court. With Kerala raising objections against the HC order, the Supreme Court set up an expert committee under the chairmanship of the Secretary, MoRTH to resolve the night traffic ban issue. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has stated, “This panel recommended that the status quo will be maintained on the restriction of night traffic through the tiger reserve as it is a core area of wildlife habitat. Further, an alternative route is already available for night time traffic and four night buses and emergency vehicles are allowed through the national park during the nine hour ban.”
Meanwhile, wildlife conservationists and activists have criticized Rahul Gandhi’s efforts to open a closed issue after being elected MP of Wayanad. They add, “It is unfortunate that the Wayanad MP is playing politics once again and completely seems to have forgotten what happened in Wayanad last year – facing landslides and severe floods due to unplanned urbanization and deforestation. The issue of night traffic ban is closed as it has been resolved and let not politics rule the issues of environment in our country.”