Ponmudi– a birds eye view

The land for the proposed Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology continue to raise questions.

Was not the Government aware that land identified by it at Maruthuamala was forestland and ecologically sensitive?

Was it not aware that the terrain was not suitable for construction of a large campus?

If it was, why did it state repeatedly that the land was revenue land and suitable for the Institute?

Why did the government go back on fresh legislation to cover estates on the Ponmudi hills?

Is it not aware of the ecological importance of the hills, which is part of the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve?

Is it not aware that ISRO had never sought a location of the hills as per its initial advertisement? (The advertisement was for a place near its existing units in Trivandrum district with access to National Highway. It was specified that there should be plain areas suitable for development of recreational facilities.)

Perhaps, the clue to the answers lies in the prayer of the Institute before the High Court that a committee should be appointed to find out whether the Maruthuamala or Merchiston estate site was better. No committee could say that the Muruthuamala site is better.

Related: Wildlife habitat likely to be lost