Concerns related to the infrastructure project planned for Great Nicobar.

ForumIAS announcing GS Foundation Program for UPSC CSE 2025-26 from 26th June. Click Here for more information.

Concerns related to the infrastructure project planned for Great Nicobar.

Source: The post concerns related to the infrastructure project planned for Great Nicobar has been created, based on the article “Strategic imperative and environment concern in Great Nicobar project” published in “Indian express” on 19th June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper3- economy- infrastructure, and environment conservation

Context: The article discusses the Congress party’s concerns over a Rs 72,000-crore infrastructure project on Great Nicobar Island. They warn it threatens indigenous peoples and the environment, urging a review. The project aims for strategic development, facing opposition from conservationists and locals. Concerns related to the infrastructure project planned for Great Nicobar.

For detailed information on NITI Aayog’s Great Nicobar Development plan read this article here

What is the Project About?

  1. The project involves a comprehensive Rs 72,000-crore infrastructure upgrade on Great Nicobar Island.
  2. It is, implemented by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO), includes: An International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT); A greenfield international airport; A township; A gas and solar power plant
  3. The project covers 16,610 hectares and aims to leverage the island’s strategic location near the Malacca Strait.

Why is the Congress Party Concerned?

  1. Threat to Indigenous Tribes: The project endangers the Shompen and Nicobarese tribes, who live on the island.
  2. Ecological Impact: Nearly a million trees could be felled, potentially devastating the island’s ecosystem, including coral reefs, the Nicobar Megapode bird, and leatherback turtles.
  3. Seismic Risks: The area is seismically active, having subsided by about 15 feet during the 2004 tsunami.
  4. Lack of Consultation: The Tribal Council was not adequately consulted, leading them to revoke a no-objection certificate for 160 sq km of forest land.
  5. Legal Concerns: The National Green Tribunal ordered a high-power committee to review the project’s clearances, but there has been no update on the committee’s report.

Why is the Project Important to India?

  1. Strategic Location: Great Nicobar Island is close to the Malacca Strait, the main waterway connecting the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. This strategic position can enhance India’s role in the regional and global maritime economy.
  2. Economic Boost: The project includes an International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), which can make Great Nicobar a significant player in cargo transshipment. The ICTT is expected to boost economic activities in the region.
  3. Security Concerns: The Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean region are vital for India’s strategic and security interests, especially with the Chinese naval expansion. The project will strengthen India’s maritime security and deterrence capabilities.
  4. Military Upgrade: India is upgrading its military infrastructure in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, including airfields, jetties, and surveillance facilities. This will support the deployment of additional military forces and enhance surveillance.
  5. Tourism and Development: The proposed “greenfield city” aims to tap into the island’s tourism potential, alongside its maritime economy, promoting regional development and economic growth.

Question for practice:

Discuss the strategic importance of the infrastructure project on Great Nicobar Island for India.

Print Friendly and PDF