Navy stopped from using island for target practice

The High Court on Friday, passed orders restraining the Indian Navy from using the Nethrani island, located near Karwar in Uttara Kannada district, for target practice.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna has restrained the Navy from using the island as a target practice area, until the disposal of the petition filed by A N Karthik and P Manjunath.

They had sought directions to prevent the Navy from using the island which has been notified as biodiversity heritage site.

The counsel for the Navy sought an adjournment of the matter stating that they need directions from higher authorities to act.

However, the bench refused to accept the argument and sought an undertaking that the Navy it will not use the island. The counsel, however,  said that such a submission or undertaking cannot be made as it requires clearance from higher authorities.

Bio-rich area

The petitioners had moved the Court stating that the island needs protection and, sought directions to the State Government and the Navy.

Nethrani island, also known as pigeon island, is situated nine nautical miles from Bhatkal and 19 km from Murudeshwar.

The island is also a home to rare birds such as white bellied sea eagle and edible nest swiftlets. Several species found here are protected under the Schedule One of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The heart-shaped island, according to a survey conducted by the Karnataka Biodiversity Board in 2000, is covered with hard coral (14.7 per cent), sponges (2.7 per cent), algae (63.2 per cent), boring polychaetes (13.3 per cent) and mussel (0.3 per cent).

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