Holding out the olive branch

Published: Sunday 30 June 1996

Holding out the olive branch

The Save Coast Movement (SCM) of Orissa scored a major victory in its campaign to protect the habitat of the olive ridley turtles. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), bowing to pressure from the movement's leaders agreed to adopt measures to protect the endangered turtle.

The DRDO is setting up a missile testing range on the Wheeler group of islands in the state, near the world's biggest rookery of olive ridleys on the Gahirmatha beach, close to the Bhitar Kanika sanctuary. The SCM's reaction to this was quick as it drew A p J Kalam's (scientific advisor to the Union ministry of defence} attention to the possible threat to the turtle. Following the negotiations which took place between the DRDO dircetor and the SCM,the former agreed to refrain from carrying out tests between November and April, the nesting season for the turtles. The SCM has also demanded that Gahirmatha be declared a marine sanctuary.

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