NITI Aayog’s Project for Great Nicobar Island
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment
- The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) – Infrastructure I of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has flagged serious concerns about NITI Aayog’s ambitious project for Great Nicobar Island.
- The committee has, however, removed the first hurdle faced by the project.
- It has “recommended” it “for grant of terms of reference (TOR)” for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, which in the first instance will include baseline studies over three months.
- The proposal includes an international container transshipment terminal, a greenfield international airport, a power plant and a township complex spread over 166 sq. km. (mainly pristine coastal systems and tropical forests), and is estimated to cost ₹75,000 crore.
Important value additions
- Galathea Bay is the site of the port and the centrepiece of the NITI Aayog proposal.
- It is an iconic nesting site in India of the enigmatic Giant Leatherback, the world’s largest marine turtle.
- A number of species are restricted to just the Galathea region.
- These include the critically endangered Nicobar shrew, the Great Nicobar crake, the Nicobar frog, the Nicobar cat snake, a new skink (Lipinia sp), a new lizard (Dibamus sp,) and a snake of the Lycodon species that is yet to be described.