Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Indian Navy which has been using Nethrani Island, situated 20 nautical miles from Karwar, for bombardment practice has written to the government to reserve its rights to use the area as target practice location.
The Western Ghats Task Force, however, is opposing the move and along with the biodiversity board has written to the naval command at Karwar and the defence ministry to ask Kadamba naval base to find other locations for target practice.
“This island is very precious. It is the last island that has the Western Ghats’ biodiversity intact and the state government has already declared it as a state biodiversity heritage site. The Navy should understand what that means. It is shocking that the Western Command has written to the Navy headquarters to retain Nethrani Island as a target practice,” said Ananth Hegde Ashisara, chairman, Karnataka Western Ghats Task Force.
Speaking on the sidelines of a three-day event, Sahyadri Festival, organised by the Save Western Ghats Movement at Mijar village near Mangalore on Friday, Ashisara said, “Sources in the central government secretariat had told me that the Navy will not let go of the Nethrani Island. But Iam determined to stop this madness of bombarding theisland. It has several types of endangered species, including Nest Swiftlet (a bird) which is in the critically endangered species list. The Corals and many other varieties of fish including white sharks are also found in the area.”
Ashisar said that the Navy had remarked that the island was uncharted. In reality, the Nethrani Island came under the jurisdictional territory of Uttara Kannada district.
“I have survey reports to prove it. When called for, I will provide them to the government. Right now I have a bone to chew with the Navy and the defence ministry,” he said.