NITI Aayog’s Great Nicobar Plan
Green panel allows Great Nicobar plan to advance
- Earlier, Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has flagged serious concerns about NITI Aayog’s ambitious project for Great Nicobar Island (NITI Aayog vision for Great Nicobar ignores tribal, ecological concerns).
- Overall Development of Great Nicobar Island at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, (also known as Great Nicobar Plan) is prepared for the NITI Aayog by Aecom India Private Limited
- Delay: The plan was delayed in March 2021 because of the incomplete submission of documents.
- Information Deficit: Details of the township, seismic and tsunami hazards, Freshwater requirement details
- Site selection: Done mainly on technical and financial criteria, ignoring the environmental aspects.
- Threat to biodiversity
- Neglecting tribal rights
- Geological volatility as it is located in seismic zone
The Great Nicobar Plan
- An international container transshipment terminal
- A greenfield international airport
- A power plant
- A township complex spread over 166 sq. km
Significance of the Great Nicobar Development plan
- Employment: The plan involves the creation of infrastructure (ports, airports, etc.).
- Economic Development: Generation of tourism prospects
- Connectivity: world-class infrastructure will help in improving inter-island connectivity in a way improving governance and boosting export potential.
- Social Benefits: create affordable state-of-the-art facilities for healthcare, quality education, and adequate air, sea and web infrastructure.
- E-governance services: Delivery of services such as telemedicine and tele-education, as a part of the Digital India initiative.
- The Nicobar island located in proximity to the strait of Malacca. This demands the creation of robust infrastructure for meeting geopolitical interests in the region.
- The islands are also home to India’s only tri-services command – the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC). The command holds immense relevance due to rising Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region