NITI Aayog’s Plan for Little Andaman

NITI Aayog has recently proposed a plan for the development of the 680 sq km Little Andaman Island in the Andaman and Nicobar group. This plan has raised the alarm and concerns among conservationists.

Key Points

  • NITI Aayog proposed this plan of Little Andaman Island  through a document- ‘Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island – Vision Document.’
  • As per the document, the new little Andaman will be built through a new greenfield coastal city. This city will be developed as a free trade zone.
  • The proposal of the Aayog considers three development anchors and zones to build new little Andaman Island.
  • Zone 1 is proposed to be along the east coast of Little Andaman spread over 102 sq km. It will be the medi city and financial district that will include a hospital district, tourism district, and an aerocity.
  • Zone 2 will be spread over an area of 85 sq km of pristine forest. It will be the leisure zone having a tourism SEZ, a film city, and a residential district.
  • Zone 3 will be spread on a 52 sq km area of pristine forest. This zone will be a nature zone divided into 3 districts: nature healing district, an exclusive forest resort, and a nature retreat.
  • The proposal includes casinos, underwater resorts, golf courses, plug-and-play office complexes, convention centres, nature cure institutes, a drone port with a fully automated drone delivery system, and much more.
  • An international airport to handle all types of aircraft will also be there.
  • The only jetty on the island will be expanded and a marina will be developed next to the tourist entertainment district.
  • A 100 km greenfield ring road will be constructed parallel to the coastline from east to west and will be supplemented with a mass rapid transit network with stations at regular intervals.
  • This vision plan is believed to have been finalized months ago. The vision document compares the Little Andaman vision with Singapore and also has a map comparing both.

What are the Concerns?

The document has photos from the internet and lacks explanations. It has also not considered the note of the Divisional Forest Officer, Little Andaman which raised concerns about the vulnerability to earthquakes, tsunamis, indigenous rights, and ecological fragility. As per the proposal, there will be a large diversion of forest land that will obviously cause environmental loss.