Night traffic comes to a halt in Bandipur
October 2009: In early August, the Karnataka High Court banned night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) vehicular traffic passing through two roads bisecting the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamrajnagar district. National Highway-212 passes for 20 km. through Bandipur in Karnataka to Wyanaad in Kerala while the NH-67 extends 12.5 km. through the park to connect Mysore in Karnataka to Ooty in Tamil Nadu.
The ruling was in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that challenged the action of the Deputy Commissioner of Chamrajnagar district who had withdrawn a notification on closing the roads for night traffic. Many animals including tigers, elephant calves, leopards, sloth bears, chital, wild pigs, mongoose, jungle cats, civets and hare have been killed due to speeding trucks, buses and vans on these roads.
An earlier proposal by the Forest Department to ban vehicular movement at night had been put on hold by the government in June 2009. The Commissioner had then been forced to withdraw the ban following an objection that the roads were vital to bring in commodities, possibly due to pressure from sand and rice smuggling lobbies. Wildlife conservationists argued that all legitimate business is completed before the park closes for vehicular traffic. Emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire services are exempted from the ban. It is estimated that around 200 vehicles pass through the park every hour. The upholding of the ban on traffic has been welcomed by wildlifers and conservationists.