New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Port Blair and another seven islands in Andaman and Nicobar would get digitally connected through submarine optical fibre cable by June this year, officials said on Monday.

The target is part of “Holistic development of islands” programme of Island Development Agency (IDA) aimed to strengthen infrastructure support, projects for improving air, sea and digital connectivity.

Better communication services would facilitate setting up of information technology based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the islands with incentives through Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Industrial Development Scheme (LANIDS), 2018 notified on January 1, 2019, said the officias.

“The proposed airports in Great Nicobar Island of Andaman and Nicobar and Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep would catalyze the development process in the region.”

The plan was explained to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who chaired the sixth IDA meeting here on Monday.

For the first time in the country, under the guidance of IDA, an initiative of sustainable development in the identified islands within scientifically-assessed carrying capacity has been taken up, a government statement said.

“Development plans with focus on creation of jobs for the islanders through tourism promotion as well as export of seafood and coconut-based products made in the islands have been prepared and are being implemented in four islands of Andaman and Nicobar and five islands of Lakshadweep,” it said.

In the second phase, suitable sites in 12 more islands of Andaman and Nicobar islands and five islands in Lakshadweep have been covered, the statement said.

“Model tourism projects both Land-based and water villas were planned and bids have been invited for private sector participation.”

As a unique initiative, to spur investment, it was decided to obtain clearances for implementation of the planned projects up-front, it said.

“All necessary clearances would be in place before the bids’ finalization. Environment and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances have already been obtained for four exemplary tourism projects of Andaman and Nicobar islands.”

In the meeting, a detailed presentation was made by CEO NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant highlighting current status of the planned projects being implemented for islanders’ benefits.

The status of implementation of decisions taken in the last meeting was also highlighted in the presentation.

Shah expressed satisfaction at the progress made and called upon all concerned to expedite implementation of the ongoing projects for islanders’ benefits.

The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral D.K. Joshi (retd); Administrator of Lakshadweep Dineshwar Sharma, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, CEO, NITI Aayog, Secretaries and senior officials from the Ministries of Home, Commerce, Tribal Affairs, Environment and Forest, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Telecommunications, Shipping, Water Resources, Earth Sciences, and New and Renewable Energy.




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