Report Wire - Green nod for strategically-crucial Great Nicobar Island mega challenge, round 8.5 lakh timber to be felled

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Green nod for strategically-crucial Great Nicobar Island mega challenge, round 8.5 lakh timber to be felled

7 min read
Green nod for strategically-crucial Great Nicobar Island mega project, around 8.5 lakh trees to be felled

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Union atmosphere ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee has given its nod to the event of a strategically essential, multi-component mega challenge within the Great Nicobar Island which is able to contain felling of round 8.5 lakh timber in pristine rainforests, lack of 12 to twenty hectares of mangrove cowl and appreciable coral translocation. 

The challenge entails the event of a military-civil, dual-use airport; a global container trans-shipment terminal; a gasoline, diesel, and solar-based energy plant, and a township.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) suggest granting environmental and coastal regulatory zone clearance to the challenge in a gathering on August 22-23.

According to a Union residence ministry letter dated March 30 to the atmosphere ministry, the airport proposed at Gandhi Nagar-Shastri Nagar space could be a joint military-civil, dual-use airport, below the operational management of the Indian Navy.

“This project is for defence, strategic, national security, and public purposes. In view of this, the portion of deliberation made for the airport component may not be made public,” it mentioned.

The Great Nicobar Island (GNI), which is the southernmost a part of the Indian territory, is among the most strategically vital areas.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands present India with a commanding geostrategic presence within the Bay of Bengal and entry to South and Southeast Asia.

The challenge is more likely to have an effect on 1,761 individuals, together with the indigenous Shompen and Nicobarese communities.

The island is residence to uncommon wildlife together with the leatherback sea turtles, Nicobar megapode — a flightless fowl endemic to the Nicobar islands; Nicobar Macaque and saltwater crocodiles.

The challenge website is inside a ten km radius of the Galathea Bay National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park however is outdoors the ecologically-sensitive zone notified across the two nationwide parks.

Three premier institutes — Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) — offered scientific inputs to the EAC on the impression of the challenge on the wildlife of the GNI.

“While the ZSI categorically stated in its recommendation that the proposed project will not have impact on the flora and fauna of GNI and can be mitigated through stringent mitigation measures, the WII provided cautious inputs very specific to leatherback sea turtles, only suggesting that it has less site fidelity and can move to other suitable nesting areas in GNI,” the minutes of the assembly learn.

The WII mentioned the challenge might be undertaken however extra intensive evaluation and analysis is required on leatherback sea turtle and its actions to craft site-specific mitigation technique, and prompt a 10-year roadmap to systematically implement mitigation measures.

The EAC mentioned it’s clear that about 30 of the 51 energetic nests of Nicobar megapode inside the proposed challenge areas will likely be completely destroyed.

SACON and WII have offered a 10-year mitigation plan on this regard.

The Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Administration has ready a mangrove conservation and administration plan.

The coral cowl required to be translocated from the proposed website is round 10 hectares. Approximately 16,150 of the 20,668 coral colonies will likely be translocated.

The EAC has additionally directed the establishing of three impartial committees to supervise air pollution associated issues, biodiversity and welfare and points associated to Shompen and Nicobarese tribes.

The panel additionally requested the challenge proponent to not reduce timber in a single go.

“These will be done in a phased manner and depending on the progress of the work on an annual basis. Trees with nesting holes of endemic owls to be identified and geo-tagged with the help from SACON. Such trees shall be safeguarded, as far as possible,” it mentioned.

The committee mentioned secure wildlife corridors at eight places alongside the japanese aspect of the island connecting forest and seashore by way of via-ducts (elevated crossings) on the north south arterial highway needs to be offered.

Also, culverts and cover crossings will likely be offered at acceptable places for motion of wildlife.

The use of autos or any leisure means on sea turtle nesting seashores will likely be strictly prohibited.

The A&N administration has been directed to ascertain a particular medical unit having state-of-art infrastructure, drugs and certified medical employees at GNI inside six months to watch human-induced illnesses because of the anticipated inflow of huge home and worldwide populations.

“All mechanisms must be in place to ensure that Shompen and Nicobarese are not exposed to the risks related to introduced diseases,” the EAC mentioned.

The committee mentioned the disposal of hazardous waste materials, together with batteries, pesticides, organochlorines and so on, wouldn’t be allowed within the GNI.

The waste generated throughout the building and operation of the challenge needs to be recycled and reused and all rejects have to be transported to the mainland for secure disposal.

No municipal landfills will likely be allowed on the island, it mentioned.

NEW DELHI: The Union atmosphere ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee has given its nod to the event of a strategically essential, multi-component mega challenge within the Great Nicobar Island which is able to contain felling of round 8.5 lakh timber in pristine rainforests, lack of 12 to twenty hectares of mangrove cowl and appreciable coral translocation. 

The challenge entails the event of a military-civil, dual-use airport; a global container trans-shipment terminal; a gasoline, diesel, and solar-based energy plant, and a township.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) suggest granting environmental and coastal regulatory zone clearance to the challenge in a gathering on August 22-23.

According to a Union residence ministry letter dated March 30 to the atmosphere ministry, the airport proposed at Gandhi Nagar-Shastri Nagar space could be a joint military-civil, dual-use airport, below the operational management of the Indian Navy.

“This project is for defence, strategic, national security, and public purposes. In view of this, the portion of deliberation made for the airport component may not be made public,” it mentioned.

The Great Nicobar Island (GNI), which is the southernmost a part of the Indian territory, is among the most strategically vital areas.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands present India with a commanding geostrategic presence within the Bay of Bengal and entry to South and Southeast Asia.

The challenge is more likely to have an effect on 1,761 individuals, together with the indigenous Shompen and Nicobarese communities.

The island is residence to uncommon wildlife together with the leatherback sea turtles, Nicobar megapode — a flightless fowl endemic to the Nicobar islands; Nicobar Macaque and saltwater crocodiles.

The challenge website is inside a ten km radius of the Galathea Bay National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park however is outdoors the ecologically-sensitive zone notified across the two nationwide parks.

Three premier institutes — Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) — offered scientific inputs to the EAC on the impression of the challenge on the wildlife of the GNI.

“While the ZSI categorically stated in its recommendation that the proposed project will not have impact on the flora and fauna of GNI and can be mitigated through stringent mitigation measures, the WII provided cautious inputs very specific to leatherback sea turtles, only suggesting that it has less site fidelity and can move to other suitable nesting areas in GNI,” the minutes of the assembly learn.

The WII mentioned the challenge might be undertaken however extra intensive evaluation and analysis is required on leatherback sea turtle and its actions to craft site-specific mitigation technique, and prompt a 10-year roadmap to systematically implement mitigation measures.

The EAC mentioned it’s clear that about 30 of the 51 energetic nests of Nicobar megapode inside the proposed challenge areas will likely be completely destroyed.

SACON and WII have offered a 10-year mitigation plan on this regard.

The Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Administration has ready a mangrove conservation and administration plan.

The coral cowl required to be translocated from the proposed website is round 10 hectares. Approximately 16,150 of the 20,668 coral colonies will likely be translocated.

The EAC has additionally directed the establishing of three impartial committees to supervise air pollution associated issues, biodiversity and welfare and points associated to Shompen and Nicobarese tribes.

The panel additionally requested the challenge proponent to not reduce timber in a single go.

“These will be done in a phased manner and depending on the progress of the work on an annual basis. Trees with nesting holes of endemic owls to be identified and geo-tagged with the help from SACON. Such trees shall be safeguarded, as far as possible,” it mentioned.

The committee mentioned secure wildlife corridors at eight places alongside the japanese aspect of the island connecting forest and seashore by way of via-ducts (elevated crossings) on the north south arterial highway needs to be offered.

Also, culverts and cover crossings will likely be offered at acceptable places for motion of wildlife.

The use of autos or any leisure means on sea turtle nesting seashores will likely be strictly prohibited.

The A&N administration has been directed to ascertain a particular medical unit having state-of-art infrastructure, drugs and certified medical employees at GNI inside six months to watch human-induced illnesses because of the anticipated inflow of huge home and worldwide populations.

“All mechanisms must be in place to ensure that Shompen and Nicobarese are not exposed to the risks related to introduced diseases,” the EAC mentioned.

The committee mentioned the disposal of hazardous waste materials, together with batteries, pesticides, organochlorines and so on, wouldn’t be allowed within the GNI.

The waste generated throughout the building and operation of the challenge needs to be recycled and reused and all rejects have to be transported to the mainland for secure disposal.

No municipal landfills will likely be allowed on the island, it mentioned.