DEVELOPMENT COMES AT THE COST OF SURVIVAL
Bhubaneswar- NITI Aayog’s development plan for little Andaman could make things worse for the tribal. They will be relocated to other parts of the island but no details have been released on how this will be done. The plan aims to de-reserve 32% of 640sq km reserved forest and de-notify 31% of 450sq km Onge tribal reserve. It also includes the construction of ‘underwater’ resorts, casinos, golf courses, convention centers, office complexes, a drone delivery system, hospital, nature cure institutes and more, over 137sq km of pristine forest land. This project will lead to irreversible environmental damage, nearly more than 2 million trees, habitats of various wild animals including endangered sea turtles will be destroyed.
Earlier in 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared the Andaman and Nicobar Islands would be developed as a “maritime and startup hub”. He has said that 12 islands of the archipelago had been selected for high-impact projects with an emphasis on boosting trade for the region. But experts say the plans are cause for concern from a social, ecological, and historical perspective. Wildlife conservationist Sanjay Molur told Gaon Connection, “The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not fully studied for their biodiversity, new findings keep emerging regularly which indicates much work requires to be done.” While researchers are finding new species from these precious islands, they are also finding new alien invasive species in the composition. Alien invasive species are an indication of negative human impacts.
Bagmi Barenya Nayak
Research intern at The Stambh Organization