Vijayawada: After five years of dithering, the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change has approved setting up a missile testing range in the Diviseema area of Krishna district. The area was set to undergo a facelift after it was announced that a missile testing facility would be set up at Gullalamoda near Nagayalanka. Although the area was considered conducive for testing missiles, the project could not progress owing to delay in environmental clearances. Now, with the green nod, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can establish the missile testing facility. According to Mr Arja Srikanth, an IRS officer from Nagayalanka who has been pursuing the matter with the Centre, the project will bring about Rs 1,000 crore worth of investment. The facility could lead to large-scale infrastructural development in the area. Ancillary and manufacturing units will also probably be set up. The 22-km long Karakatta road from Nagayalanka to Koduru along the coast has already been identified as alternate route by the DRDO. Srikanth said this will strengthen the area’s potential to become a major tourist attraction. 4 DRDO had identified Nagayalanka and Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu as best suited locations for establishing missile testing facilities. As Kalpakkam already has an atomic power plant, the DRDO had finalised Nagayalanka for the missile test facility. Nagayalanka will become the second missile testing facility in India after Balasore in Odisha. Sources said that long-range missiles can be test-fired from Nagayalanka. Missiles with more than 5,000-km-range can also be test-fired from here. Diviseema, located on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, is, identified as an ecologically sensitive area. The land where the missile testing facility is to be established falls in the notified forest area. The state government had sent the proposal to environment and forest ministry for approval in September 2014. The ministry had given its in-principle approval in 2017 and it took two more years to give stage-II and final nod. Dr G Satish Reddy, chairman of DRDO, cleared all issues raised by the ministry to ensure environmental and wildlife protection. The environmental ministry has set 20 conditions to be fulfilled to establish the facility. The conditions, include compensatory reforestation measures and precautionary measures to protect wildlife.
Source: The Times of India