NITI Aayog Islands Development Project: Megathread
The project involves:
- Redevelopment and Industrialisation of #GreatNicobar
- Redevelopment into a Model City of other islands, starting with #LittleAndaman Island… [1/16]
- The project involves construction of an #airport, #port, & a transportation system
- #Galathea WLS was denotified for the project
- The WLS is known for being the nesting site of the #LeatherbackTurtle. [2/16]
The denotification of the WLS in January contradicted the National Marine #Turtle Action Plan (released Feb 2021) which declared the Galathea WLS as one of India’s few ‘Important #Coastal and #Marine #Biodiversity Areas’ and ‘Important Marine Turtle #Habitats’. [3/16]
After that, in mid-January, another committee declared 70% of the ESZ around the Sanctuary as zero-extent ESZ, or non-existent ESZ, even while describing in great detail the uniqueness of the ecology and biodiversity of the sanctuary. [4/16]
Conservationists and ecologists are most concerned over the two signature species of the Great Nicobar- the #LeatherbackTurtle, the largest living turtle species in the world, and the #Nicobar #Megapode, a species of bird for which this is one of the only habitats. [5/16]
Both the Nicobar Megapode and the Leatherback Turtle are classified as 'vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. [6/16]
The concerns regarding the Shompen Tribe which inhabits the island have been ignored completely. The proposed projects would overrun large parts of forest inhabited by them, and the remaining forest too will become useless as they may become nature retreats for tourists. [7/16]
PDF file:
The plan involves the redevelopment of Little Andaman, and make it a competitor to Singapore, by making it a 'sustainable' megacity with modern facilities. [8/16]
The plan was to build three zones on the island.
- A financial district with a free-trade zone and hospitals.
- A leisure district with resorts etc. and a residential district.
- A nature district with a 'nature-healing zone', 52 km reserve forest, and a 'nature retreat'. [9/16]
The development plan wants to encourage the following activities. It states that these activities would be encouraged and funded in not just Little Andaman, but across several of the islands of Lakshwadeep and the A&N Islands. [10/16]
Activity 1: Organic #Farming
The vision notes that a very small part of these islands is cultivable, thus not many cash-crops can be grown.
The alternative to this, it states, is organic farming. [11/16]
Activity 2: Deep Sea #Mining
The vision notes that Polymetallic nodules found in the deep sea contain valuable metals which are in high demand
Deep sea mining ruins marine habitats and fragile ecosystems present deep in the sea. [12/16]
Now, #NITIaayog, why?
Why do we need to exploit marine habitats, when the #moefcc already exploits forests and mountains across the country?
Is it because the need (rather, greed) to exploit forests never ends? [13/16]
Activity 3: Maritime #Trade
Apart from the trading systems, warehouse, and port at the Great Nicobar, the document also proposes maritime trading infrastructure in Minicoy Island, as well as across the other islands in the Andaman & Nicobar and the Lakshwadeep. [14/16]
Now, the document has stated that it needs 35% of the area of Little Andaman Island. It notes that 95% of the island is covered with forest. So it wants to de-reserve 32% of the forest and denotify 31% of the #Tribal Reserve. NITI Aayog ignored all related concerns. [15/16]
It also suggests that tribes can be 'relocated'
NITI Aayog, if you care about the environment in the slightest, stop proposing such destructive ideas.
Biodiversity of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the biodiversity of the Lakshwadeeps, prepare for the worst. [16/16]
Each of the plans for the islands involved in the project
Thinnakara Island in the Lakshadeeps would host the following:
- Weddings: Loud and noisy
- MICE Tourism: Large groups of tourists
- Corporate Retreat: Large events
Basically, large halls, many people and noisy functions. Smith And Ross Island- Natu...
Section 8, subsection (c):
"Further, the islands lie in the open sea and confront storms, cyclones and heavy rainfall quite often"
If so, why are the protective mangroves being cleared for these plans? If floods, storms, etc. are to be prevented, mangroves are the only option.
Section 8, subsection (d):
In this paragraph, I do not see a single mention of the measures which would be taken to protect the interests of the tribes inhabiting the islands.
Why is this just a description of the tribal population demographics of the islands? Image
Section 7
The plan seeks to attract thousands of tourists to the islands, increasing pollution levels, disturb wildlife, and make 'tourist facilities' in the middle of the wilderness, effectively ruining it. Image
Section 8, subsection (a)
Yes, the excessive tourists on an island will be harmful, but there is no mention of what measures would be taken to prevent. Image
Also, the document hasn't thought about the much more destructive construction and developmental work that would precede the entry of tourists on the islands.
The vision has little mention of the effects of #industrial work on the islands, which are known to have suffered greatly in #earthquakes, and almost no mention of the measures taken to prevent earthquakes.
Industrial activities are known to increase the number of earthquakes.
Almost 4 months have passed since the denotification of the Galathea Bay NP and the Megapode NP, and yet there has not been a proper impact assessment of the following:
- Dredging
- Construction work
- Proposed deep-sea mining
- Denotification of Sanctuaries and Reserves
For much more detailed information and data on the project, read the posts of the brilliant @pankajsekh, who finds and exposes the documents and notifications of de-notification of sanctuaries and reserves the government desperately wants to hide from the public.
A list of useful links to understand the NITI Aayog Project better. The link can also be found in my bio.
The Nicobar Megapode is found in just about 15 Islands of the Nicobar Islands. They were eradicated from 2 of those islands after the 2004 tsunami. It is a vulnerable species with 750-1500 mature individuals in the wild, according to the IUCN Red List. ImageImage
The 'Vulnerable' status is given to species which have been confirmed to having been reduced by at least 30% in the last 10 years. These animals have a high risk of becoming critically endangered in the near future, without further human intervention.

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