Saving Forest Area Likely To Get Harder For Karnataka With New State Congress In-Charge

Elephants crossing a highway in Bandipur

The appointment of K C Venugopal, member of Parliament representing Alaphuzha, as the Karnataka in-charge for Congress is being seen as advantageous to Kerala since projects along the Karnataka-Kerala border are likely to see progress. Over the last few years, several inter-state projects between the neighbouring states have been held up due to opposition from environmentalists and forest conservation groups.

Kerala submitted a formal proposal to Karnataka through Venugopal, urging Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to support the Nanjangud-Nilambur railway line, reported Bangalore Mirror. It has been asking Karnataka to open up the traffic through Bandipur National Park at night for long. But Karnataka has been refusing the request on the back of opposition by wildlife activists and conservationists. This could change.

Bangalore Mirror quoted a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office-bearer as saying, “The railway line passes through Bandipur National Park, which is a protected area and requires clearances from the National Tiger Conservatory Authority (NTCA) and Central Board for Wildlife, besides the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). The leaders expressed that if both states jointly pursue the project and exert pressure on the Centre, the project could see the daylight and help prosper the region economically.”

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Karnataka High Court had earlier rejected this project as it would hurt the ecosystem. The 236km railway line is said to pass through nearly 15km of the core area of the Bandipur tiger reserve.

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