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Development Plan of Great Nicobar Mega Project

Development Plan of Great Nicobar Mega Project

Why in news? Government of India has recently cleared the proposal for the deforestation of large forest land in Great Nicobar so as to carry some developmental work and planned almost twice the area for forestation in Haryana.

Great Nicobar Project

  • NITI Aayog-piloted Rs. 72,000- crore integrated project in Great Nicobar which includes construction of a mega port, an airport complex, a township spread over 130 sq. km of pristine forest and a solar and gas-based power plant.

Arguments in favour of project:

  • ICTT: The proposed port will allow Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by becoming a major player in cargo tranship
  • Attract existing traffic of ports along the eastern coast of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Greenfield International Airport: The proposed airport to be developed as a “joint military-civil, dual-use airport”, and will also cater to tourism as well.
  • Township: It will link the infrastructure facilities to complete the physical framework of the new city.
  • Power-Plant: Develop power through solar panels and gas.

Concerns associated with project

  • Deforestation:5 lakh trees will be felled for port-township-airport-power plant project on the eastern coast of Great Nicobar Island.
  • Biodiversity: Reclaiming 300 hectares from the ocean will affect marine biodiversity and also threat to nesting sites of endemic species like Leather back turtles.
  • 20 hectares of mangroves will be lost and 10 hectares of corals cover be translocated from Galathea Bay.
  • Indigenous communities: Shompen and Nicobarese tribe  will be effected as they are prone to human induced diseases due to influx of domestic and international populations.
  • Compensatory afforestation: Taken up on a “non-notified forest land” in Haryana, but not on the island where forested land will be affected.

Mitigation measures to be taken

  • Compensate for coral translocation and rseef restoration in Galathea Bay.
  • Re-densifying’ existing mangrove patches and planting mangroves in non-forest areas.
  • Build wildlife corridors linking the forests and seashore.
  • Canopy bridges and underpasses to ease the movement of wildlife
  • Declare new protected areas, and draw up monitoring and action plans to study threatened wildlife. 
  • Prepare conservation plan to track and monitor leatherback turtles and Nicobar megapode.
  • Bays on the western coast of Great Nicobar could be potentially developed as wildlife sanctuaries or conservation reserves.

Where to use?

Paper 3 (Environment Pollution & Degradation, Infrastructure, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.)

Paper I (Geography Optional: Environmental issues in regional planning, Planning for sustainable development)

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