Great Nicobar Project (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Infrastructure)

News-CRUX-10     19th June 2024        
output themes

Context: The opposition has criticized the proposed Rs 72,000-crore infrastructure upgrade at Great Nicobar Island, calling it a serious threat to the island's indigenous population and fragile ecosystem.

Great Nicobar 

  • Location and Size: It is the southernmost and largest of the Nicobar Islands, spanning 910 square kilometers. It lies in the southeastern Bay of Bengal.
  • Geographical Significance: Indira Point, located on Great Nicobar, marks India’s southernmost point and is remarkably close to Sabang in Sumatra, Indonesia, at a distance of only 90 nautical miles (less than 170 km).
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: It form a group of 836 islands, divided into the Andaman Islands to the north and the Nicobar Islands to the south by the Ten Degree Channel, which span 150 km. 

Great Nicobar Project

  • About: The GNI project is a significant endeavor slated for the southern Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

oIt encompasses diverse elements such as an international container trans-shipment terminal, an airport, township development, and a substantial power plant spanning 16,610 hectares.

  • Project Components: The project entails a trans-shipment port at Galathea Bay, valued at ₹35,000 crore.

oAdditionally, it includes the establishment of a dual-use military-civilian international airport, a power plant, and a township.

  • Implemented by: Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO).
  • Participation in Global Maritime Economy: According to the NITI Aayog report, the proposed port will enable Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by becoming a major player in cargo transshipment.
  • Environmental Concerns:

oLoss of tree cover, alongside resulting runoff and sedimentation in the ocean, could detrimentally affect local flora, fauna, and coral reefs.

oThe project's development also poses a threat to the island's mangrove ecosystems, further exacerbating environmental concerns.