Pinarayi bats for elevated Wayanad-Mysore highway over Bandipur tiger reserve

Pinarayi bats for elevated Wayanad-Mysore highway over Bandipur tiger reserve
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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday wrote to the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, in favour of an elevated highway through the Bandipur National Park connecting Kerala's Wayanad and Mysore in Karnataka.

Pinarayi, in his letter, also said the state was ready to bear half of the expenditure.

The chief minister said the proposal was acceptable to the Union Transport and the Highway Ministry.

An all-party group, including elected representatives and National Highway Action Committee members in Wayanad, had recently met the chief minister to sort out the issue of the ban on night traffic on NH 766 which passes through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The ban through the Reserve Forest between 9pm and 6am was intended to reduce disturbance to the wildlife in the protected area. But the restriction has been affecting the people of Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

"An alternate route to Mysore via Wayanad will increase the travel distance by 40 km. The suggested alternate route is also through the reserve forest. In this scenario, an elevated road is preferred. This would ease the difficulties faced by the people without harming the wildlife," Pinarayi said.

Public works principal secretary Kamalwardhan Rao had recently held discussions with the the Karnataka chief minister and the chief secretary on the proposal of elevated road.

Bandipur National Park was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve with an area of 874 sq km.

(With inputs from PTI)

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