New Delhi: The Environment Ministry has rejected an Indian Navy proposal to test fire missiles at the Tillachang sanctuary in the Andaman and Nicobar islands as a firing range would destroy the habitat of the megapode, an endangered ground bird species.

"The matter came up during the meeting of the National Board for Wildlife last month and many non-official members raised concern about it. I decided yesterday (Thursday) that the range should not come in that area," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said on Friday.

She said it was a very tough decision as there was lot of pressure from the defence ministry to clear the project.

The navy has reportedly sought permission for temporary use of the ecologically sensitive forest land on the island for missile testing.

It also wants to put up a temporary structure as a target for testing the accuracy of missiles fired from submarines.

The test firing is proposed to be carried out once every year for a duration of seven to 10 days.


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