DRDO wants to set up Missile Testing Range in the region

There is a threat to the mangroves (mada forests) located in Nagayalanka mandal in Krishna district, if the reserve forest along the shore is allotted to the proposed Missile Testing Range, said the Forest Department officials.

Mangroves are spread over 17,000 hectares in Gollalamoda, Sorlagondi and other fishermen villages where the Ministry of Defence has proposed to launch the Long-Range Missile Testing Range, along the coast of Bay of Bengal. Locals said that transportation of heavy vehicles on a road would have a negative effect on the habitations, ecosystem in the vicinity.

Extinction threat

According to sources, the officials identified 250 acres of Revenue land and 28 acres belonging to reserve forest for setting up the proposed missile launch facility at Sorlagondi. The Forest Department authorities conducted a survey at the site and submitted proposals twice to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which rejected them, as the mangroves in Reserve Forests may face extinction.

“The DRDO has to construct a road from Gollalamoda to the Light House at Sorlagondi, on the 8.5-km road stretch, by raising the bund height by ten metres to transport the missiles. But, the mangroves, which are dependent on the backwaters of the sea, would suffer as the water flow channels would be obstructed by the proposed 25-metre wide road. Scientists have come up with a plan to construct a high-level bridge between the two villages to allow the flow of water into the mangroves,” a forest official said.

He further added that the construction of bridge may not be feasible as the soil is considered to be soft and loose and was not conducive to keep the bridge stable and allow heavy vehicles on them. Speaking to The Hindu, Nagayalanka Forest Range Officer (FRO) P. Surya Prakasa Rao said that the Forest Department had sent proposals twice to the CEC on allotting 28 acres of reserve forest land, but were rejected. The proposals for allocation of site to the proposed DRDO Project had been sent for the third time, along with the survey report, said the FRO.