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Andaman: MoD proposals threaten endangered birds

Jul 16, 2012 01:48 PM IST India India

New Delhi: The Narcondam Hornbill is found at only one place in the world - Narcondam, in the Andamans. The Nicobar Megapod, a wingless bird, is found in the Tillanchong Sanctuary, again in the Andamans.

Both these birds and the fragile ecology of the Andamans are now facing a direct threat from proposals floated by the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy.

The Navy wants to construct a structure for test firing a dummy missile in the pristine forests in the Tillonchang wildlife sanctuary, where as the Coast Guard wants to construct a diesel power station, and construct a road by chopping the dense forests of Narcondam.

Both the projects will have a serious impact on the endangered species. That's why a site inspection team, set up by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has said a firm no to the proposals. Environmentalists too have flagged their concerns.

The Defence Ministry, however, has refused to react.

It's now up to the Environment Minister to take a final call. Will she be able to withstand the pressure and say a firm no?

Defence experts, in fact, admitted that conflict can be avoided by considering optional sites as for the Narcondam hornbill, the megapod and the ancient tribes that use these forests, this is the only site they can call home.