Green nod for radar station at Narcondam in Andamans

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  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI: After granting green clearance to a major naval infrastructure project at Karwar along the western coast, the environment ministry has now given its go-ahead to install a radar station at Narcondam in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    The project was pending for long despite repeated requests from the defence establishment which wanted to install the radar at the strategic location in view of suspected Chinese presence and "listening post" on nearby Coco Island.

    Though Coco Island in the Bay of Bengal belongs to Myanmar, China is learnt to have set up extensive infrastructure there.

    Environment minister Prakash Javadekar told TOI that the radar project was of strategic important to India. "Only 8-10 people will be employed at the station. It will not in any way affect the natural environment there," the minister said, wondering why such an important project was kept pending for so long under the previous government.

    Referring to Coco Island, Javadekar had said on Monday that China has a presence there. "If China is sitting in front and is doing something and we can't even monitor, the country cannot run like that. So these kinds of projects, which are of importance to the country's security, we have started clearing on a priority basis," he had said while addressing reporters at the Indian Women's Press Corps.

    Green activists, however, objected to the project when it first came into the public domain a couple of years ago. Pointing out that Narcondam is home to around 300 Narcondam Hornbill, a rare bird found nowhere else in the world, they had demanded that the project not be cleared as it would affect the rare species. They had said clearance to the radar project would be the "death knell for Narcondam Hornbills".

    The green signal to the radar station comes after the environment ministry gave clearance to Phase-IIA expansion of the futuristic Karwar naval base in coastal Karnataka, which is designed to give India both strategic depth and operational flexibility on the western seaboard against Pakistan.

    The Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the around Rs 13,000 crore Phase-IIA expansion of the base over two years ago but it was stuck for want of environmental clearance. After the Rs 2,629 crore Phase-I, the Karwar base can berth 11 major warships and 10 yardcraft. The warships include aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The Navy will be able to berth 32 major warships and submarines after Phase-IIA is completed by around 2020.

    Green nod for radar station at Narcondam in Andamans - The Times of India
     
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