Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched India’s first undersea optical fibre project this week, has stepped up his government’s efforts to give Andaman and Nicobar Islands its first big power project as part of a continuing massive effort to upgrade infrastructure in the archipelago of over 572 Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
PM Modi had laid the foundation stone for the 50 megawatt gas-based power plant at Hope Town in South Andaman during hisvisit to the island in December 2018. One tender to establish the plant has been issued and the bids will be opened on 28 August; bids to set up the gas infrastructure and supply of gas will be opened on 18 August.
Senior officials said the different projects are part of the government’s overarching vision for the islands and use them as a springboard to open up new opportunities for India in South-East Asia. It was in this context, one official said, that PM Modi on Monday unveiled plans to build atransshipment port at Great Nicobar Island.
PM Modi said this would give ships an alternative to similar ports in the region.
Officials said New Delhi wants to pitch the proposed Rs 10,000 crore port to be built at Great Nicobar Island as an alternative to other ports in the neighbourhood including those in Sri Lanka and Indonesia’s Banda Aceh.
“The idea is to turn Andaman into a major transportation hub that is at the heart of India’s Look East policy,” a second government official said. Already, plans are afoot to expand the runway at the Campbell bay airport.
The proposed port lies at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. This is one of the most important sea routes. More than 90 percent of crude oil volumes flowing through the South China Sea transits the Malacca Strait.
The port is als