10km rail bridge proposed over tiger reserve

Two states in India have proposed a new railway line to connect each other and it will include a 10km rail bridge over the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The two states have seen a big drop in traffic between the regions following the banning of night traffic through the reserve to protect wildlife. Officials and local politicians hope that the new line will boost commerce and also tourism in the area.

Kerala and Karnataka states have proposed that a 72 km rail line should be established between Nanjangud and Sulthan Bathery. In order to reduce the impact on the tiger reserve officials propose that 10 km of the tracks be elevated above the trees. This will allow free movement of animals under the track and reduce the impact of noise disturbing the wildlife.

It is hoped that the plans can alleviate the substantial drop in traffic between the two states since night driving was banned through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Before the ban there was up to 4,000 lorries passing through the park each day. Since the dusk to dawn ban on the national highway the number of lorries has dropped to about 1,500.

If the new line is built then the Sulthan Bathery end of the line can connect up with the track to Nilambur. With a full connection between the two regions it is hoped that the line could result in a major boost in tourism. Nanjangud is famous as a temple town and includes the Srikanteshwara Temple. Nilambur is renowned for its wildlife and natural habitats.

Bandipur is a national park that was designated a tiger reserve in 1974 and is one of the parks that makes up the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. As a UNESCO international biosphere reserve the region is of particular global importance for wildlife and development needs to be carefully considered.  State officials hope that by using an overhead track to boost trade between the two regions it will be supported by environmentalists.

As well as boosting the number of tourists travelling between the two regions the new rail line will also benefit food supply. The new rail will allow farmers to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables direct to markets in the towns and cities.

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