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Govt halts Navy project in A&N Islands

Oct 05, 2012 05:45 PM IST India India

New Delhi: After CNN-IBN reported how missile installations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands could hurt the existence of the endangered bird species Nicobar Megapode, the Enviornment Ministry has rejected the proposal.

"The habitat of the megapode should not be disturbed and the missile firing range should not come up in that area," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said at a programme organised to mark the wildlife week in New Delhi.

The Indian Navy had proposed to set up a missile testing site at Tillanchong Sanctuary in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Rejecting the proposal, Natarajan said "the megapode actually does not exist anywhere and it is a
very unique species".

"It is too sensitive to withstand any such installation over there and as Environment Minister it is my mandate to make sure that wildlife, flora and fauna of our country are protected. So, it is an extremely hard decision but I decided that it is my mandate and I should stay with it," she added.

The Nicobar Megapode is found in some of the Nicobar Islands. Being restricted to small islands and threatened by hunting, the species is vulnerable to extinction. Population of the species on some islands is believed to have been wiped out in the 2004 tsunami.

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