Tuesday, 29 October 2013

DRDO awaits MoEF nod for pollution-free missile launch site

The Union ministry of forests and environment has been sitting on the environmental clearance for the pollution-free missile launching and testing facility proposed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) close to Nagayalanka near Machilipatnam in Krishna district for two years now.
The ministry had, however, given environment clearance to generate pollution-oriented coal-based 20,000 MW power close to the coast within a radius of 20 km near Krishnapatnam in SPSR Nellore district.The DRDO had been on the lookout for two such facilities in the country for strategic reasons as well as to take up multiple launches. In this backdrop, it had zeroed in on Nagayalanka since the land had safety advantages in case of calamities or tsunamis because of its nose-like projection into the sea. Also, the missile laboratory located in Hyderabad is just four-and-a-half hours by road to the location.
Sources say that there are hardly any habitants, except 100-odd illegal migrants in the area.
However, clearance has not been given on the pretext of threat to mangroves and forests in the area.
Interestingly, Indian Space Research Organisation’s Satellite Launch Centre, Shar, in SPSR Nellore district, is located in the midst of ecologically sensitive mangroves, the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary and the Pulicat Lake.
Clearance has also been given for a major port at Dugarajapatnam in SPSR Nellore district in the same region. Sources say that they can’t fathom how a missile launch centre, which is similar to ISRO’s rocket launching centre, would affect the environs.
In fact the prestigious missile project would soothe the frayed tempers in Seemandhra region, where people are agitating against bifurcation of the state, to some extent since the public sector unit is certain to generate employment and boost the economy in the region.
According to information, the proposed facility at Nagayalanka will provide direct and indirect employment opportunities to over 5,000 people.Unfortunately, the state government or MPs of the region have failed to take initiative for the missile-launching project.
“They would have lobbied if it was a private project since they would have got other benefits,” said noted environmentalist and former IAS officer E.A.S. Sarma.
He added that DRDO had a good track record with respect to eco-friendly measures in all their units across the country.
A DRDO source said, “The research centre Imarat in Hyderabad, which is located over 2,300 acres, is a shining example of DRDO’s commitment to protect and nurture nature.”

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