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Sonowal visits Atlanta Bay; says it would reduce travel time from 72 hours to 15 hours between Andaman and Kolkata

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, NOV 25, 2023: UNION Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal concluded his two-day visit of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by visiting Atlanta Bay near Diglipur in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Currently a jetty with 5 m draft is serving for berthing of inter-island vessels of 4.00m draft. Considering the strategic location and other facilities available, a Bulk Cargo transshipment hub can be developed in Atlanta Bay. The feasibility study for developing Atlanta bay major Harbour is under process.

The Atlanta bay has a natural draft of 19/20 and is just 50m distance in sea. There is availability of Natural break and is well connected by road. Also, sufficient land can be reclaimed from the sea. This transshipment hub is on the route from East & NE India to East & SE Asia, Australia-New Zealand countries. It is also on the route, of Coal, Sand & others construction materials, Iron ore etc., to Bangladesh and Myanmar. Once operationalized, the Bulk Cargo Transshipment Port will be economically beneficial for our country as well as to our neighbors. The proposed port is 565 Km from Yangoon; 765 Km from Sittwe; 1000 Km from Chittagong; 1100 Km from Kolkata; 1000 km from Barisal and 80Km from the Coco Island (the Chinese Defense base).

Considering its strategic location, in the northern side of A&N Islands, a 10mtr draft harbour is essential to promote high-end tourism and other essential purposes. Once developed the people of north & middle Andaman will be beneficial and the travel time between major ports at Andaman and Kolkata will be reduced from 72 hours to 15 hours.

The Minister took an aerial survey of International Container Transshipment Port (ICTP) a Sagarmala Project being developed at Galathea Bay and interacted with the various stakeholders, local residents and representatives yesterday. He also visited the Indira Point, the southernmost point of India's territory at Great Nicobar Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and directed the concerned officials to explore the possibility of developing the Indira Point area as a tourism destination and develop required tourism amenities and facilities for the same.

In Great Nicobar Island he also visited Campbell Bay and reviewed the progress of the Berthing Jetty Extension project and later in the evening, he reviewed the various works done by ALHW at Port Blair and appreciated the work done in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands by them over last 5 decades. During the review, Sonowal also advised Andaman Lakshadweep Harbour Works ( ALHW) to explore reputed construction firms to work in the Islands for completing the projects in time.

He expressed satisfaction and called upon all concerned to expedite implementation of the on-going projects for islanders' benefits. He stated that, 'Under the leadership of PM Modi the proposed projects in Andaman & Nicobar would catalyze the development in the region. This can lead to inclusive growth and play a key role in improving the livelihoods of the populations with the transportation of goods and passengers. The Minister also directed the officials to take up the work of development of Indira Point as a major tourist destination with all required facilities.

There are 58 projects worth Rs. 7,622 Crores in Andaman and Nicobar are being monitored under Sagarmala programme. 15 projects worth Rs. 469 Crores are being funded under Sagarmala and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS). All projects are being implemented by ALHW. 8 projects worth ~ Rs. 211 Crores are funded by Sagarmala; 4 projects worth Rs. 216 Crores are funded under CSS and 3 projects worth ~ Rs. 42 Cr are funded by MoCA. One project worth ~ Rs. 13.5 Crores is completed; 4 projects worth Rs. 173 Cr. are under implementation; one project worth Rs. 26 Cr. is under tendering and 9 projects worth ~ Rs. 256 Crores are under development.

Andaman Lakshadweep Harbour Works (ALHW), under the Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways in developing Marine infrastructure in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands for more than 50 years now. ALHW has planned the Port Infrastructure required to develop these Islands to meet the growing demand, designed and constructed the marine structures like Break Waters, Major Wharf, Jetties, Vehicle Ferry Ramp, HDPE Floating Jetties, Fish landing Centers, Dry Docks with afloat repair berths, Slipway and many more in different Islands. Apart from these, Shore protection works, Dredging, Roads & Bridges, and Port Terminal Buildings are fewer among the deposit works carried out in these Islands. ALHW also provides technical support to local Port departments for port operations.

With the initiative marked in Maritime India Vision 2030 it is planned to develop Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) islands and Lakshadweep Islands for tourism and other initiatives. Initially, development plans have been focused on job creation for locals through tourism promotion and export of locally made seafood and coconut-based products. In the first phase, these plans are being implemented in four islands of Andaman & Nicobar and five islands of Lakshadweep. In the second phase, suitable sites in 12 more islands of Andaman & Nicobar and 5 islands in Lakshadweep will be covered.

In Amrit Kaal Vision 2047 under Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Island development will be a key focus for coming years. The 26 islands that have been shortlisted to be developed over the next decade are in the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the State of Gujarat. The themes such as development of eco-tourism facilities, ship repair, seaplane building and repair, maritime training institute, Free Trade Zones and bunkering terminals that are proposed to be developed. The development of these themes can then be further expanded to other islands to unlock the entire potential of all the islands in the country.


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