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Last Updated At :- 24-04-2018 07:50 PM

Expedite infrastructural projects, Rajnath orders at IDA meet

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh ordered the expeditious implementation of key infrastructure projects in Lakshadweep, and the Andaman and Nicobar islands to ensure maximum benefits to the local populace.

The Minister's order came during the third meeting of Island Development Agency (IDA) at his North Block office here.

The Home Minister was particularly focussed on improving air, road and web connectivity, providing good quality drinking water and power supply to residents of the islands, a Home Ministry statement said.

He reviewed concept development plans and detailed master plans for holistic development of nine islands, four in Andaman and Nicobar (Smith, Ross, Long and Avis) and five in Lakshadweep (Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam and Suheli).

The Minister was told that final site suitability reports have been prepared, carrying capacity determined and environmental zoning carried out to ensure sustainable development for these Islands.

Additional islands, 12 in Andaman and Nicobar (North Passage, Cinque, Inglis, Viper, Neil, Ramnagar Beach, Karmatang Beach, Dhaninallah Beach, Kalipur Beach, Rutland, North Bay and Great Nicobar-B Quarry) and five in Lakshadweep (Kalpeni, Kadmat, Agatti, Chetlat and Bitra) have been identified by NITI Aayog in consultation with the Union Territory administrations for planning of suitable projects aimed at creation of more jobs for the Islanders.

"Community-based tourism would be promoted benefiting the Islanders," the statement said.

The meeting was told that key projects such as creation of jetties, roll-on and roll-off ships, bridges on Andaman trunk road, upgradation of Diglipur Airport, construction of Minicoy Airport, modernization of existing jetty at Kavarati, augmentation of satellite bandwidth from 1.118 Gbps to 2.118 Gbps in Andaman and Nicobar, augmentation of helicopter services for Islanders and tourists are being accorded priority

With better communication services, Information Technology based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises would be promoted in the islands, Rajnath was told.

The Minister got to know that 18 projects, both in Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, have been identified for implementation, out of which seven projects are ready for launch.

"Three such projects in Andaman and Nicobar (one each in Long, Smith and Ayes Island) and three in Lakshadweep (one each in Suheli, Minicoy and Kadamat) are ready to be launched.

"After implementation of these projects, investment of about Rs 650 crore is expected from the private sector. Preference would be given to the local people for employment," the statement said citing the findings of the meeting.

The meeting participants were told that an investors' conference would be held in May 2018.

Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on November 8, 2017 when directions were given to identify additional Islands for sustainable development and also accord priority to key infrastructure projects.

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