Why Centre’s Nod to ‘Holistic’ Infra Plan in Nicobar is Not So Holistic?

Why is the Project Being Carried Out? The goal of the project is “ to enable the overall development of Great Nicobar Island, with a diverse and robust economy based on maritime services, tourism amongst other economic drivers.”

Is there a National Security Interest in the Project? The move is also strategically crucial. As highighted in the Environemental Impact Assesement (EIA) report, the Great Nicobar Island (GNI) is “strategically located” beacuse of its proximity to a major international sea route which carries about 20-25 percent of global sea trade and 35 percent of world oil supplies. “This strategic location presents immense opportunities to further strengthen India’s trading position in the world by developing an International Transshipment Terminal at the GNI.”

The EIA report also notes that the project will “counter foreign power consolidation in the Indian Ocean Region”.

What is the Cost of the Mega Project? The cost of the project is Rs 72,000 crore, according to the EIA report.

How Many Trees Will Be Felled for this Mega Project? The project will lead to the felling of 8.52 lakh trees in phases, according to the minutes of a meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the Ministry of MoEFCC, held on 24 May. The project is also estimated to lead to loss of about of 12 to 20 hectares of mangrove cover, as per the EIA report