WAYANAD: Amid protests against the night traffic ban on Kozhikode-Bengaluru National Highway (NH 766) gathering momentum, the Union ministry for environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) favours maintaining status quo for the time being.
It also wants a complete ban on vehicular movement through Bandipur National Park in the long run after improving the alternative road through Kutta-Gonikkuppa to Mysore and Bengaluru in tune with the suggestion of the Supreme Court.
In response to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's August 22 letter suggesting the construction of an elevated highway through the core/critical tiger habitat, MoEFCC minister Prakash Javadekar said it was already discussed in detail by the committee of secretaries chaired by the cabinet secretary and recommended maintaining status quo and improving the alternative route.
Mr Javadekar also said that in tune with the SC directions for strengthening the alternative route comprising NH 275 and state highway (No 90) of Karnataka as National Highway at par with NH 766 (earlier NH 212), which may then, in the long run, be closed down altogether, in compliance of which appropriate action has been initiated through the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
Highlighting the need for conserving the tiger habitats, the letter further said that core critical tiger habitats need to be kept inviolate for long-term sustenance of ecology of the area.
The alternative route, though passing through forests, is not a critical habitat and can be suitable, the letter said.
Meanwhile, the indefinite hunger strike of youth wings of political parties started on Wednesday is on in Sulthan Bathery with people flowing into the spot and expressing solidarity. They include merchants, students, farmers and the shop employees....