Environmentalists have launched a campaign to protect around 300 narcondum hornbills, whose only home on the globe is a 6.5 sq km island in the Andamans.
The standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) recently asked environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan to take a call on the Indian Coast Guard's proposal for installation of a coastal surveillance radar, laying of a two-km road through the virgin forest, and setting up of a power supply source in the Narcondam Island Sanctuary - where the birds have been living for centuries.
The coastal guard had proposed installation of the radar to keep an eye on ships passing through Indian waters, besides poachers and intruders.
However, independent members of the standing committee opposed the move.
Madhusudan of the Nature Foundation and Asad Rahmani of the Bombay Natural History Society were of the view that any such activity should be handled with the utmost caution.
They have asked the coast guard to install the radar device within the already-existing police outpost on the island, instead of finding a fresh location. The coast guards, however, insist on installing the system in the middle of the unique island sanctuary.
During the June meeting of the National Board for Wildlife, Natarajan was asked to take a final call on the issue. Wildlife activists across the country have urged her to reject the coast guard's proposal, claiming that it would cause irreparable damage to the narcondum hornbills' habitat.
They said the coast guards have failed to provide a convincing reason for installing the radar system on this very island, and also refrained from providing any alternatives.