Update Andaman Trunk Road controversy

Published: Friday 15 June 2007

The controversy over the Andaman Trunk Road (atr) continues (see 'Questions about a road', Down To Earth, May 31, 2007). Survival International, a London-based organisation working for tribals, has charged the Andaman administration of ignoring a Supreme Court order. The apex court had ordered the closure of some portions of atr to save the Jarawa tribe from extinction. "It is extraordinary that the Indian government has completely ignored the country's own Supreme Court for five years," says Stephen Corry, director, Survival International. But officials do not quite agree. "When there is a judgment from the apex court to close down portions of atr, we cannot keep it open forever.We need to think of the future of the Jarawa tribe but we also have to think of the common interests of people living in these islands," says Chhering Targay, chief secretary of Andaman and Nicobar Administration.

On March 16, the Union ministry of Environment and Forests put on hold a decision on the proposed Pathrakkadavu hydro-electric project in Kerala's Palakkadu district. The ministry has asked the Kerala State Electricity Board, which mooted the project, to conduct another round of environmental impact assessment and public hearing. The project envisages building a dam on Kunti river flowing through the Silent Valley National Park area. The proposed project has triggered protests in Kerala with environmentalist saying the dam will damage the hotspot (see 'Disputed project', Down To Earth, May 31, 2007).

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