New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the efforts of the government will establish Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a prominent place on the world tourist map within this decade.
Speaking after inaugurating submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair through video conferencing, he said, “I hope that our efforts today, in this decade, will give Andaman and Nicobar, not only new facilities to the people there, but also as a prominent place in the World Tourist Map”.
The Prime Minister said that the optical fibre cable project, connecting Andaman and Nicobar with rest of the country is a symbol of our commitment towards ease of living.
“Be it online classes, tourism, banking, shopping or telemedicine, thousands of families in Andaman-Nicobar will now get its access.
Today, the tourists going to the Andaman will get the huge benefit of the facility. Better net connectivity has become the first priority of any tourist destination today,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that new infrastructure in Andaman and Nicobar Islands will create employment opportunities.
“After a period of three decades, India’s first deep-draft greenfield seaport at West Coast has received in-principle approval. Construction work of deep-draft inner harbour is also underway at the east coast. Now it is proposed to construct a trans-shipment port in Great Nicobar at an estimated cost of about Rs 10,000 crores,” he said.
“Once this port is ready, big ships will also be able to dock there. This will increase India’s share in maritime trade, our youth will get new opportunities. Today, modern infrastructure is being developed in Andaman and Nicobar is important for the blue economy. Fisheries, aquaculture and seaweed farming are an important part of the blue economy,” he said.
The Prime Minister highlighted that an Island Development Agency was formed 3 years ago to strengthen this role of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“You are seeing today, that the projects which were not completed in Andaman and Nicobar years and years are now rapidly being completing. High impact projects are being expanded in 12 islands of Andaman and Nicobar,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that physical connectivity through road, air and water is also being strengthened in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“To strengthen the road connectivity of North and Middle Andaman, 2 major bridges and NH-4 widening are being worked on rapidly. Capacity to handle 1,200 passengers simultaneously at Port Blair Airport will be ready in the coming few months,” he said.
“In order to increase the facility of water connectivity between the island and the rest of the country, the 4 ships being built at Kochi Shipyard will also be delivered in the coming months,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that the role of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is very crucial and it is going to be enhanced further under India’s Act-East policy.
He said that the importance of our islands including Andaman and Nicobar Islands has increased as India is following the new policy and practice of trade and cooperation in Indo-Pacific.
“The Indian Ocean has been the centre of India’s trade and strategic prowess for thousands of years. Now that India is following the new policy and practice of trade and cooperation in Indo-Pacific, the importance of our islands including Andaman and Nicobar has increased further,” the Prime Minister said.
“Under the Act-East policy, Andaman and Nicobar’s role in India’s strong relations with East Asian countries and other countries associated with the sea is crucial and it is going to increase,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that Andaman and Nicobar Islands are going to be developed as a hub of Port Led Development in the coming times. “Andaman and Nicobar islands are located at a very competitive distance from many ports of the world,” he said.
“Today, when India is moving forward with the resolve of self-sufficiency as a global manufacturing hub, is establishing itself as an important player in the global supply and value chain then it is very important to strengthen our network of Waterways and our ports,” he said.(ANI)