What is the News?
Niti Aayog has released a megacity plan for Little Andaman. The plan is a part of its Vision Document titled “Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island”.
- Aim: To leverage the strategic location and natural features of the Little Andaman island. A new greenfield coastal city will be developed as a free trade zone. The city will compete with Singapore and Hong Kong.
Zones: The document has proposed the development along the three zones:
- Zone 1: It will spread along the east coast of Little Andaman. It will be the financial district and medi city and will include an aerocity and a tourism and hospital district.
- Zone 2: It will spread over 85 sq km of pristine forest in Andaman. It will have a film city, a residential district and a tourism Special Economic Zone(SEZ).
- Zone 3 — It will spread over 52 sq km of pristine forest. It will be a nature zone. It will be further categorised into three districts: an exclusive forest resort, a nature healing district and a nature retreat, all on the western coast.
Challenges for Mega-City
There are certain factors that could prevent the sustainable development of Little Andaman namely:
- Lack of good connectivity with Indian mainland and global cities
- Fragile biodiversity and natural ecosystems
- Certain Supreme Court notifications can pose an impediment to its development.
- Presence of indigenous tribes and concerns for their welfare
- 95% of Little Andaman is covered in forest, a large part of it is the pristine evergreen type.
- Some 640 sq km of the island is Reserve Forest under the Indian Forest Act.
- Nearly 450 sq km is protected as the Onge Tribal Reserve, creating a unique and rare socio-ecological-historical complex of high importance.
Source: The Hindu