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Great Nicobar Development Project

Great Nicobar Development Plan Latest News

  • It is an Rs 72,000 crore development project and will be implemented in three phases over the next 30 years.
  • The project is likely to create 1 lakh new direct jobs and 1.5 lakh indirect jobs on the island over the period of development.

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Great Nicobar Development Mega Projects

  • Components: A greenfield city has been proposed, including an International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), a greenfield international airport, a power plant, and a township for the people working on the project.
    • The proposed port will enable Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by becoming a major player in cargo transshipment.
  • Management: The port will be controlled by the Indian Navy, while the airport will perform both military-civilian functions and will cater to tourism as well.
  • Other facilities: Along with the port and airport, roads, water supply, public transport, and waste management facilities, and several hotels have been planned to cater to tourists.
  • Location: Authorities have identified area along the southeastern and southern coasts of the island for project. About 130 sq km of forests will be diverted and 9.64 lakh trees are likely to be cut.
  • Timeline: Development activities will commence in the current financial year, and the port is expected to be commissioned by 2027–28.


Purpose of Great Nicobar Development Projects

  • Leverage strategic location: The government wants to leverage the locational advantage of the island for economic and strategic reasons.
    • Great Nicobar is located equidistant from Colombo to the southwest and Port Klang and Singapore to the southeast, and is close to the East-West international shipping corridor, through which a very large part of the world’s shipping trade passes.
    • The proposed ICTT has potential to become a hub for cargo ships travelling on this route.
  • Security aspects: The project is critical for security and consolidation of the Indian Ocean Region. Increasing Chinese assertion in the Bay of Bengal and the Indo-Pacific has added great urgency for this development project.


Great Nicobar Development Plan Concerns

  • Cutting of trees: Massive infrastructure development in an ecologically fragile region, including the felling of almost a million trees, has been opposed by many environmentalists.
    • The loss of tree cover will affect the flora and fauna present on the island.
  • Coral reef destruction: Cutting of trees would lead to increased runoff and sediment deposits in the ocean, impacting the coral reefs in the area.
  • Mangrove destruction: There will be a loss of 12 to 20 hectares of mangrove cover while implementing the project.
  • Indigenous communities: Original inhabitants belonging to the indigenous Shompen and Nicobarese tribes will be affected.
  • Fauna affected: The leatherback sea turtles, Nicobar megapode (a flightless bird endemic to the Nicobar Islands), Nicobar Macaque and saltwater crocodiles are some of the rare fauna that will be affected as a result of the project.
  • Protected areas: The project area falls within a 10 km radius of the Galathea Bay National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park. There are expected implications of the mega construction.

Great Nicobar Development Plan Protective Measures Suggested

  • Wildlife corridors: The environment committee will construct wildlife corridors at eight locations connecting the forest and seashore.
  • Specialised medical unit: A specialized unit with top notch facilities will be set up to monitor possibility of effects on indigenous communities.
  • Turtle protection: Intensive assessment and research will be conducted on the turtles and their movements to ensure an appropriate mitigation strategy is in place.
  • Protection of nesting on trees: Clearing of trees must be carried out in a phased manner to ensure the safeguard of species nesting and living within the trees.
  • Disposal of waste: Disposal of hazardous waste material, including batteries, organochlorines, pesticides, etc have been strictly forbidden.


Great Nicobar Island

  • The Great Nicobar is located at the southernmost part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are separated by the 150-km wide Ten Degree Channel.
    • The Andaman Islands are located to the north of the channel, and the Nicobar Islands to the south.
  • Indira Point on the southern tip of Great Nicobar Island is India’s southernmost point. It is located less than 150 km from the northernmost island of the Indonesian archipelago.
  • Aboriginal groups: Shompen and Nicobarese tribal peoples are the aboriginal groups. The Shompen are hunter-gatherers who depend on forest and marine resources for living. The Nicobarese lived along the west coast of the island, but are now relocated.
  • Flora and fauna: The Great Nicobar Island has tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges and coastal plains.
    • The leatherback sea turtle is the flagship species of the island.

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