Joshimath On Sea? – Mega projects for Andaman and Nicobar need to be ultra-sensitive about ecology and tribes

Source: The post is based on the article “Joshimath On Sea? – Mega projects for Andaman and Nicobar need to be ultra-sensitive about ecology and tribes” published in The Times of India on 25th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Relevance: About Great Nicobar Project.

News: Nearly 100 former civil servants represented themselves to the President against the development plans on Great Nicobar Island.

About the Great Nicobar Project
Read here: Nicobar project gets assent for diversion of 130 sq km of forest
What are the strategic and ecological significances of the Great Nicobar project?
Read more: Strategic and ecological significance of the Great Nicobar project
What are the concerns associated with the Great Nicobar project?

The project is likely catastrophic for the island’s sensitive ecology and indigenous hunter-gatherer tribes like the Shompen who are already listed as a ‘particularly vulnerable tribal group’.

The region has some of India’s largest mangroves and that over half the species of butterflies, 40% of birds and 60% of mammals are endemic to the region. All of this unique biodiversity could be lost forever.

What should be done?

Disregarding the ecological sensitivity of the region could see the making of another Joshimath-like catastrophe on a grander scale. Compensatory afforestation in Haryana or MP will not prevent such a catastrophe. Therefore, any future plans to develop the Andaman and Nicobar Islands need to seriously factor in the environmental impact on the region.

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