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The Great Nicobar and Niti Aayog’s ‘Sustainable’ vision

The Niti Aayog has proposed the holistic and sustainable development of the Great Nicobar island. As per the latest proposals, the Niti Aayog envisions the creation of modern transportation infrastructure on the Great Nicobar island.

About NITI Aayog-piloted ‘holistic’ and ‘sustainable’ vision for Great Nicobar Island

  • Phase 1 of the proposed project will need clearance of around 150-244 sq. Km. of pristine forest, which is 18 percent of the small and sensitive Great Nicobar island. It will incorporate nearly a quarter of the coastline which is considered to be environmentally critical.
  • Nodal agency- Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO).

About Galathea Bay

  • It is included in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-I.
  • Globally significant nesting sites for the Giant leatherback.
  • In 1997, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary

Importance of the Great Nicobar island

  1. The Nicobar Islands are home to 648 species of flora and 330 species of fauna, including unique and endangered species like:
    • Nicobar paradise flycatcher
    • Nicobar tree shrew
    • Nicobar wild pig,
    • Nicobar megapode (globally endangered bird)
    • Great Nicobar crested serpent eagle
    • Nicobar tree shrew
  2. According to India’s National Marine Turtle Action Plan, Galathea Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the country’s “Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas” and “Important Marine Turtle Habitats.”
  3. It is home to the indigenous Shompen tribe.

Concerns regarding Niti Aayog

  • Adverse environmental and ecological impacts.
  • Entire Galathea Bay Wildlife Sanctuary has been denotified and  “zero extent” Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) has been approved for it.
  • The geological vulnerability of the island like Tsunami has not been counted.

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