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Thread: Narcondam Hornbills

  1. #1
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    Default Narcondam Hornbills

    The Narcondam Horbills are saved. I take this opportunity to thank Dr. Asad Rahmani whose report made this possible.

    I am sharing below the full text of the MoEF's order.

    Sabyasachi






    MoEF on Narcondam
    F.NO. 6-73/2011 WL
    Government of India
    Ministry of Environment and Forests
    (Wildlife Division)

    Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex
    Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003
    Dated – 31.08.2012

    OFFICE MEMORANDUM

    Subject: Permission for Installation of Coastal surveillance RADAR and power supply source at Narcondam Island Sanctuary –reg.

    A proposal was received in the Ministry of Environment and Forests for consideration of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) from Indian Coast Guard, Headquarters Region (A&N), seeking diversion of 0.637 ha of forest land for installation of coastal surveillance RADAR and power supply source on Narcondam Island whithin the Narcondam Island Sanctuary in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The proposal was duly recommended by the Andaman and Nicobar Island Administration along with the concurrence of the SBWL.

    2. The Island is on the easternmost location, having only 6.82 Km2 of geographical area with an altitude from sea level to about 700msl. It harbours tropical forests and within these forests, a tiny population (about 350) of Narcondam Hornbill, an endemic species on this Island. The bird represents unique endemicity, and is in globally endangered category of IUCN, and in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 also. The area earmarked for the proposed installation of equipment, and the area covered by the proposed road leading to installation site from the shore is the one which is inhabited and frequently used by these birds. The proposal of Coast Guard is a part of the chain of static RADAR sensors all along the Indian coast for remote monitoring of activities in coastal sea. Narcondam Island is the site for one of several such units planned along the entire coast.

    3. The proposal was considered in the 23rd meeting of the Standing Committee of NBWL held on 14th October 2011, wherein a site inspection was prescribed, and the same was entrusted to Dr. A. Rahmani, Member, along with a representative of the Chief Wildlife Warden, A&N Islands, for submitting a report to the Committee after site inspection. Site inspection was carried out and the report submitted by Dr. Rahmani proposed that the proposal should not be recommended due to the unique status of this habitat, being the only abode of the highly endemic species of Narcondam Hornbill. The report was considered in the 25th Meeting of the Standing Committee held on 13th June 2012.

    4. Subsequently, several represtations were received in the Ministry related to the conservation value of the Island and the unique Narcondam Horbill also. It is understood that the majority of the nests of the small population of this species (less than 350 birds) are located at about 200 meter height, which is generally the same area in the Island, which is to be used by the project for installation of RADAR. For the duration of egg-laying and chich-rearing, the females shed the flight feathers and are incapable of flight. In the circumstances, even if the are to be used for the project is less than 0.7 hectares, disturbances and damage caused to the habitat due to cutting of road through the area, and because of the regular functioning of RADAR system, is likely to cause irreversible adverse impact on this unique bird, and can even wipe out the whole population of this bird, which is less than 350.

    5. As far as the project of coastal surveillance RADAR of the Coast Guard is concerned, an alternative analysis in terms of choice of technology and other options for locationg the surveillance system have not been elaborated in the proposal. Ministry is of the view that the other options for the purpose, like installation of off-shore structures and several other viable options are available, which can spare the uniqe habitat of Narcondam Island from disturbance. However, there is no such option available for the Hornbill whose survival may get seriously threatened if the establishment of proposed RADAR is allowed on the Narcondam Island.

    6. In view of the aforesaid, the proposal for diversion of 0.637 ha of forest land for installation of Coastal Surveillance RADAR and power supply source at Narcondam Island Sanctuary can not be recommended. The proponents are advised to constitute a committee of experts to study and explore other alternatives like aerial, satellite, off shore, ship-based or land based surveillance systems at other islands, for ensuring the defence and economic security of the country. The experts may represent the disciplines of:-
    i) Security and sea water surveillance (possibly DRDO)
    ii) Islands and marine ecology
    iii) Marine structural engineering
    iv) Coast Guards

    The issues with the approval of the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environent and Forests, and the Chairperson of the Standing Committee for NBWL.

    (Vivek Saxena)
    Deputy Inspector General of Forests (WL)

    1. Chief Secretary, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair
    2. Principal SEcreatary (WL) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair

    Copy to: Technical Director (NIC) for uploading the O.M. on the Ministry’s website.

  2. #2
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    Default

    That is a good news. Thanks to Dr. Asad Rahmani for the report to save these hornbills. He has been in fore front in saving many wilderness areas and endangered species. Without his detailed report and interventions all our emails to the ministry would have hardly any impact.
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

  3. #3

    Default

    This is heartening news indeed and as mentioned by Mrudul the credit goes to Dr.Rahmani.

    But it also raises a question : If the MOEF can act so swiftly and conclusively on an issue with endemic species on one side and national security on the other. Why is it so slow, sluggish and indifferent when similarly endangered species and larger extents of land clash with private enterprise and their greed for money in the guise of development….. ??? all the mining related standoffs across the country for example????

    Rgds
    Roopak

  4. #4
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    Default

    Great news, thanks Dr. Asad Rahmani.

  5. #5
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    Smile

    Thats a Good news, Thanx to Dr. Asad Rahmani.
    www.andamannicobarsnakes.com

  6. #6
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    Default Narcondam Horbills : battle lost

    In Wildlife conservation unfortunately there is an apt saying "No victory is final" and that has been proved in this case.

    The new Government at the centre has decided to grant permission to set up the radar station at Narcondam island. Apparently it is in response to China setting up a listening post in Myanmar's coco island. The Coast guard's earlier proposal had been rejected by the MoEF. However, now they have been granted permission to set up the radar station and a generator station for powering it. This radar is expected to help in keeping an eye on ships passing through India's waters and perhaps beyond. The new Government has decided to clear projects that has been termed as strategic from defence point of view.

    The Narcondam Horbills are restricted to this island. When their habitat gets intruded and depleted their survival as a species becomes a big question mark.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I am not sure any NGO or activist has guts to take a view contrary to the new government. Everybody from my lunch mates to high echelons are kind of blinded by the supremely white light. It's plain, so called breakneck development and environment cannot go hand in hand. Mr Javedakar is there clear the ways for corporates through intruding jungles.

  8. #8

    Default

    Only 4.5% or so of the country is protected jungle. Even that is threatened. So sad... considering we have had one of the richest bio diversity in the world...

  9. #9
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    Default

    We are placed in a predicament.The unique feature of shedding flight feathers by females during egg-laying and chick-rearing period is possibly the greatest risk factor.
    The security environment in the Indian ocean and beyond has undergone rapid changes. In this theatre, when the Malaysian Boeing 777 suddenly disappeared, my first worry was whether the plane was heading for our Kalpakkam Atomic Power Station.

    The ultimate power of Democracy is the Defence forces. The best safeguards for conservation also depend on both 'Ds'.
    The main Airbase in A & N Islands has to be shifted (abandoned) after Sunami to Kalaikunda. In such a situation, we possibly can not remain complacent without having advanced listening station, Radar, satellite surveillance etc. in A&N as the lead time for air action has increased.
    Ultimately we have to strike a balance through discussion on the possible alternatives or safeguards of saving Narcondam Hornbill.
    Nature comes back if it is left alone; Corbett came back after Kalagarh Dam.

    Thanks for sharing.SaktiWild

  10. #10
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    Default Centre puts bombs before birds

    Centre puts bombs before birds

    The Narcondam Hornbill
    New Delhi, May 20: The Narendra Modi government has granted the military permission to test missiles targeting four ecologically fragile islands in the Andaman and Nicobar group in the Bay of Bengal, junking a UPA policy derisively known as "birds-over-bombs".

    The islands are uninhabited or largely uninhabited for most of the year, a source in the defence ministry claimed.

    Environmental organisations such as the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, claim the islands are home to a variety of flora and fauna. Among wildlife seen on the islands are birds such as the Nicobarese Megapode, the Sparrowhawk, the Glossy Swiftlet, crocodiles and water monitors.

    The islands are Tillanchong - which will host targets for Tube-Launched Land Attack Missiles (T-LAMs) from the navy's submarines and warships - Trinkat, Trek and the Isle of Man.

    Narcondam Island in the northeast Andamans is also expected to be used for installation of more sensors to make it a high-powered "listening post". The island became the centre of a controversy after the navy put up a radar station there because it is home to what ornithologists call a rare species of bird named the "Narcondam Hornbill".

    Ironically, to the dismay of environmentalists, the navy has two warships named after two of the islands that are in its crosshairs: the INS Tillanchang was part of the fleet till the government transferred (or gifted) it to the Maldives. The INS Trinkat continues to be part of the fleet.

    The navy last tested its missiles in Tillanchong in 2008. When it asked for permission to use the island as a firing range and for target practice, the UPA government had rejected the request.

    In October 2012, then environment minister, the Congress's Jayanthi Natarajan, said the rejection was a "very, very difficult decision because it involves national security, and a missile range is important".

    The navy has a forward operating base at INS Kardip in Kamorta in the Nicobar group of islands.

    Defence ministry sources said the navy, the army and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will use Tillanchong to test Russian-origin T-LAMs called Klubs, the India-Russia joint-venture missile, Brahmos, and possibly the delivery vehicles for a secretive strategic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads fired from submarines sometimes referred to in official literature as the Sagarika, the K-15 and the K-9.

    Nuclear warheads are not used in tests. The army and the navy want to test conventional weapons with live warheads.

    The army tested the Brahmos missile, which has a range of 290km, this month.

    Military sources say they emphasise the importance of testing the missiles because "we have not been able to expend our annual practice allowance for many years". Each weapon in the arsenal comes with an "annual practice allowance" that is a small percentage - usually three to five per cent of the total number held - that has to be fired before the weapons are used in actual hostilities or before the end of their expiry date.

    The Klub T-LAMs, the tube-missiles which can be fired to attack targets on land from under water, are imported from Russia. They are now standard in all modern warships of the navy but have not been fired in Indian conditions. They have been tested only in Russia.

    This complicates matters because, first, the weapons could not be tested in conditions in which they are likely to be used. Second, the crew do not get enough practice.

    "The business of war is expensive," explained one officer. "We have to keep firing to learn to shoot straight."

    Environmentalists say increasing militarisation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is leading to clashes between soldiers and traditional livelihood systems like the Nicobarese "tuhets". But military officials argue that not only are readiness and training important, it is also difficult to find uninhabited spaces within Indian territory.

    The possibility of missiles missing the islands during practice also has to be taken into account in designating targets. Mercantile traffic in the Bay of Bengal around the Andamans is less than that around the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands on India's west coast. The bulk of the traffic through the Bay of Bengal passes south of Nicobar to the Straits of Malacca.
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

  11. #11
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    Default

    On one hand our Hon'ble PM talks about protecting our culture and on the other hand his minister gives orders for decimating a part of our cultural heritage by bombing it.

    Every square inch of our landmass is going to be filled in due to the population explosion. So what will our armed forces do after a few years? Where will they find a place devoid of humans to test their bombs? Or will we be too numerous to allow a few "accidental" testings in places with smaller human populations?

  12. #12
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    Default

    Are we still trying to ignore megalomaniacs, who are having the clear viewpoint of "We are right, you are wrong, that's it, come with us or else face the hell-storm. No questions."
    Well, mother nature will give it back, the sad part is that those who will pay for all this foolishness will be our future generations, for the stunning silence of ours under the garb of one pretext or the other.

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