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Government plans to transform Andaman and Nicobar islands with Rs 10,000 crore

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a chain of 572 islands of which a little more than 30 are inhabited, it constitute 0.2 per cent of India’s land mass but provide for 30 per cent of the country’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • The southern islands lie near the Malacca Straits, a gateway to the Indian Ocean through which China gets some of its oil.
  • India has drawn up an ambitious, Rs 10,000 crore plan to transform the Andaman and Nicobar Islands into the country’s first maritime hub, taking advantage of its strategic location.
  • The government has readied a blueprint of the plan that also entails protection of the original Jarawa inhabitants while boosting the tourism potential of locations such as limestone caves and mud volcanoes.
  • The shipping ministry has prepared a 15-year perspective plan for the development of shipping and port infrastructure on the islands.
  • To promote the area as a destination, the government has sanctioned a Rs 50 crore project on the development of a sea route from Port Blair to Baratang, one of the islands and home to the mud volcanoes.
  • The project is being implemented by Andaman Lakshadweep Harbour Works and will be completed by October 2017.
  • The government has also planned a container transhipment terminal in the area to tap into the potential of the international trading route to cut down on freight costs.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar administration is also planning to declare Port Blair a free trade area.
  • The government aims to acquire 60 small and large passenger and cargo ships for around Rs 5,000 crore, which provide better connectivity with Cochin and Vizag port.

Source: ET

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