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Proposed Megaproject in Great Nicobar Could Spell Trouble for the Island Ecosystem

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    11th Nov, 2022

Context

Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has granted an in-principle (Stage 1) clearance for the diversion of 130.75 sq. km of forest in Great Nicobar Island for the mega ?72,000-crore Infrastructure project.

About

About The Proposed Project:

  • The proposed mega infrastructure project involves the construction of;
  • A trans-shipment hub (the International Container Trans-shipment Terminal or ICTT) and,
  • Three other interlinked projects: a Greenfield international airport, a township and associated infrastructure, and a gas-diesel-solar power plant.
  • These will come up on the eastern side of the Great Nicobar Island, including Galathea Bay.

What were the Concerns associated with the Project?

  • Compromised ecosystem: 8,52,245 trees are likely to be cut down for the project and about 130 square kilometers forest land will be diverted. Further, almost 300 hectares of land will be reclaimed by dredging the ocean.
  • Affected wildlife: Nicobar long-tailed macaque, Crab-eating Macaque, Nicobar Tree Shrew, Dugong, Nicobar Megapode, Serpent Eagle, saltwater crocodile, marine turtles, and Reticulated Python.
  • Threat to local people: Along with more than 1,700 people will be affected due to the project, mostly of the indigenous Nicobari and Shompen communities.

 

Do you know?

Galathea Bay – the proposed site of the project – is a critical leatherback turtle nesting site.

  • Biologists who surveyed 15 islands in the Nicobar complex for turtle nesting sites in 2016 found leatherback turtle nests in only five islands.
  • Out of the 1,068 leatherback nests on these five islands, a majority (775) were on Great Nicobar.
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