The king (of the jungle) has got back his peace and recovered his lost territory – in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka. With a bit of help from the Supreme Court where a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant have asked the state government to find out an alternative route for the national highway that passes through “nothing less than the core area of the national park”. The court said that the road passing through the reserve is closed down permanently. And, to provide a peaceful night for the king and his subjects in the reserve, the night traffic ban between 9 pm and 6 am in National Highway 212 would continue.
The bench also asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEF) and Climate Change to come back in four weeks with “an affidavit within a period of four weeks with suggestions as to how NH 275 and State Highway No 90 be made into a National Highway (that is that State Highway No 90 be merged into NH 275), and to see that both the width and other features of this highway be made at least equal to NH 212 which may then, in the long run, be closed down altogether.”
The bench’s decision came after hearing a PIL petitioner, who had said that there should be no roads passing through the core and buffer zones of tiger conservation areas. Citing Section 38V of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 which states the core or critical tiger habitat areas of national parks and sanctuaries were required to be kept as invio