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Not a single tree should be cut: Telangana High Court stays Indian Navy’s ELF Radar Project

"We understand the defence of the country is crucial and is an important aspect, but the environment is also our concern," the Chief Justice said.

The Telangana High Court passed an interim order to stay the Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radar project to be executed by Eastern Naval Command in Damagundam forest of Vikarabad district, reports Times of India.

Hearing a PIL petition filed by ‘Damagundam Forest Protection Joint Action Committee’ on Wednesday, a division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy directed the authorities to ensure that not a single tree is to be felled for the project. 

The Hight court made it clear to the state, central governments and the Indian Navy that they cannot ‘cut a single tree’ till they filed their counters on what they are proposing to do with the ecosystem at Damagundam forest near Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district. The court asked as to how the forest department could allow construction of a low-frequency radar in a forest area.

“We understand the defence of the country is crucial and is an important aspect, but the environment is also our concern,” the Chief Justice said. Everyone knows that low frequency affects the wildlife, the flora and fauna and the forest ecology adversely, he said. It is surprising that the forest department agreed to the idea of ELF Radar in the area without Navy obtaining environment clearance, the Chief Justice added.

Assistant Solicitor General N Rajeswara Rao urged the bench to restrict the status quo for a few days, but the bench made it clear that it will remain there till the centre and other authorities file their response. The bench has deferred the matter to April 15.

This Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Radar project is being set up by the Eastern Naval Command of Indian Navy. The Telangana government has provided 2,900 acres of land to the central government in the Dammagudem reserve forest in Vikarabad district for the ELF radar centre.

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