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Govt looks to open up to 100 islands for eco-tourism: Kant

New Delhi, Aug 10 () The government looks to open up to 100 islands in Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep for the development of eco-tourism on public private partnership (PPP) basis, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said today.

Under the Holistic Development of Islands programme, 10 islands in Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep have been taken up for development in the first phase.

“Now we are opening up 10 islands, in the next 12 months we should be opening close to 100 islands,” Kant said.

“We welcome all dynamic entrepreneurs to create projects that India can be proud of. The success of the Incredible Islands Of India initiative will beget further success,” he added.

Kant was addressing investors’ conference organised by Niti Aayog to attract investments for the development of eco-tourism on PPP basis in Andaman Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands.

“A detailed study has been done on the carrying capacity of these Incredible Islands Of India. We are not looking at mass tourism that will burden the environment, sustainable development is the goal,” Kant added.

The Niti Aayog CEO said key approvals will be provided upfront to reduce risk for investors involved.

“Foreign tourists coming to India will not need separate permission to visit these Incredible Islands Of India,” he said.

Kant also said that the government’s objective is to ensure sustainable and eco-friendly development of Island projects.

“We will keep in mind the carrying capacity of these pristine islands to ensure they are never under burden,” he noted.

Island Development Agency (IDA) an apex body, under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was constituted in June 2017, while NITI Aayog has been mandated to steer the Holistic Development of Islands program, along with the respective UT administration/ State Governments.

According to an official statement issued yesterday 11 anchor tourism projects Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep are proposed to be implemented with private sector participation under suitable risk-sharing model and through open-competitive bidding.

“The said anchor tourism projects have been identified on government-owned land in Smith, Aves, Long, Neil Little Andaman Islands of Andaman Nicobar, and in Kadmat, Suheli and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep,” it had said.

The statement had also said detailed land survey and demarcation of project sites, carrying capacity assessment of the project islands, coastal regulation zone (CRZ) application and pre-feasibility study have been undertaken. BKS MR MR

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