Seven islands in the Andamans and Lakshadweep have been identified for seaplane operations while private sector participation has been invited for tourism-based projects in the two archipelagos, the Home Ministry said Tuesday.
The 5th meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA), chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, also reviewed the progress made towards the program “Holistic development of islands”.
Four islands (Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep, Hutbay and Long) in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and three islands (Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy) in Lakshadweep have been identified for seaplane operations, a statement issued by the home ministry after the hour-long meeting said.
Key infrastructure projects such as operationalisation of Diglipur airport for civilian aircraft and construction of a new airport in Minicoy Island have been accorded high priority by the government while Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance has been accorded for ”Middle Strait Bridge” on Andaman Trunk Road. All these measures will improve inter-island connectivity significantly.
Bids for private sector participation in three tourism-based projects have already been invited by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration. They include eco-tourism projects in Smith Island and Long island and tent city project in Aves island. Bids will be invited shortly for one more project in Neil island of Andaman & Nicobar.
Three projects in Lakshadweep have been identified for issue of bids. These include tourism projects in the islands of Kadmat, Minicoy and Suheli Cheriyakara. Environmental Clearance (EC), CRZ clearance and all other clearances required for these projects are being obtained upfront, on priority, to attract more number of reputed bidders, the statement said.
The Ministry of Commerce has issued a notification extending tax incentives for investments made in manufacturing and service sector in islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The tax incentives are Central Capital Investment Incentive for access to credit (CCIIAC), Central Interest Incentive (CII), Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (CCII), Goods and Services Tax (GST) reimbursement, Income Tax (IT) reimbursement, Transport Incentive (TI) and Employment incentive (EI).
Expeditious implementation of the above-mentioned projects will provide high economic return to the private sector, satisfactory jobs and additional income to the islanders and enhanced revenue to the government – a win-win situation for all.
Above all, stability of the island eco-system will be maintained with effective execution of well-planned environmental safeguards.
A detailed presentation was made by CEO, NITI Aayog highlighting the current status of planned projects being implemented for islanders” benefits. The status of implementation of decisions taken in the last meeting was also highlighted in the presentation.
In order to sustainably utilise the potential of Tuna fish, ten deep-sea modern fishing vessels are being procured by Lakshadweep administration from Cochin Shipyard Limited.
Export of sea food and coconut products is being encouraged to generate more employment opportunities in the islands.
The home minister expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on June 30, 2018 when directions were given to focus on creation of recreational facilities along-with tourism infrastructure; implementation of renewable energy projects; incentives for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); development of a film city in an island etc.
The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andamans Admiral D K Joshi (retd), Administrator of Lakshadweep Farooq Khan, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant and top officials from ministries of Home, Commerce, Tribal Affairs, Environment and Forest, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Telecommunications, Shipping, Water Resources, Earth Sciences, New and Renewable Energy.