Cant protect wildlife by irritating people environmentalist on Bandipur road night trafficElephant at Bandipur reserve forest. Picture by Sarang
news Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 05:30
The Karnataka government will soon hold a meeting to take a decision on the Kerala’s government’s demand to open up the Bandipur National Park for vehicular movement at night. Following a meeting with the Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddarmaiah said that he would hold a meeting with the law minister and senior officials and decide on the Kerala government’s request to open the roads passing through the Bandipur National Park. This is the fifth time that Chandy is meeting his Karnataka counterpart. The first meeting was on August 14, 2011, when B S Yeddyurappa was the chief minister; the second, on December 18, 2011, Chandy met the then chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda; the third time he met Jagadish Shettar on January 3, 2013. The fourth meeting was on October 10, 2013, with Siddaramaiah. The Karnataka government first prohibited night traffic on National Highways 212 and 67, which pass through the national park in June 2009, when the Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajnagar district issued an order to protect wildlife. The Kerala government challenged the claims of the Karnataka government furnishing information that the number of road kills was exaggerated. Picture by Sarang Bengaluru-based environmentalist Ullash Kumar says that he was in favour of opening the road for night traffic because the partial caused a lot of inconvenience to the people travelling between the two states, and also raised the cost of certain goods in Kerala as a result of the high transportation cost. Kumar said that he had been at the forefront of the movement that initially advocated for a ban on vehicular movement in the national park, but felt now felt that it served no purpose, as the movement of animals between 9 pm and 6 am was less and that it was higher at around 6 am when the vehicles were let into the national park. He said: “You can’t protect wildlife by irritating people. In any case, the separation of people from the environment was a western idea of conservation, whereas in India it was people who conserved the environment. However, when pointed out that human activity here did not refer to forest dwellers but to vehicles, he did repeated that it would cause inconvenience to the people. Asked about the hidden sand mining lobby, Kumar said that illegal sand mining was rampant in Kerala and that sand was not transported to Kerala from Karnataka. He added that illegal sand mining had ruined the habitat of the Olive Riddley turtles in Calicut, where the turtles nest. He also said that if at all the government wanted to close the road, it should have a uniform policy across the country and not just “trouble the people of Kerala”.  
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