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On the cards: New airport at Lakshadweep to promote tourism, tuna fishing industry

The decision was taken at the second meeting of the Island Development Agency, chaired by Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2017 16:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lakshadweep Islands,Island Development Agency,Airport
The ministry of home affairs said enhanced connectivity is one of the key priorities for Lakshadweep, considering its unique maritime and territorial bio-diversity.(Reuters File/ Pic for representational purposes only)

The Island Development Agency (IDA) on Wednesday decided to develop an airport at Minicoy Island in an effort to unlock the potential of tourism and the tuna fishing industry in Lakshadweep.

The decision was taken at the second meeting of the IDA, chaired by Union home minister Rajnath Singh. The naval air station at Shibpur near Diglipur in the northern Andaman and Nicobar Islands would be “co-used as a joint-user airport”, it said.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) said in a statement that the decision would help improve livelihoods in Lakshadweep. Stressing on the need to promote the tuna fishing industry there, it said: “The Union home minister directed everybody concerned to expedite the implementation of ongoing key infrastructure projects on the islands and develop community-based tourism in consultation with local stakeholders.”

The decision, according to the MHA, was taken on the basis of reports that mapped and delineated environmentally sensitive zones on the islands. “Enhanced connectivity has been recommended as one of the key priorities, considering the unique maritime and territorial bio-diversity of the islands,” the statement said.

Government think-tank NITI Aayog also pressed for the formulation of PPP projects, and proposed detailed guidelines to boost private sector participation.

The IDA reviewed concept development plans and detailed master plans for the holistic development of nine islands – four at Andaman and Nicobar (Smith, Ross, Long and Avis) and five at Lakshadweep (Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam and Suheli).

The meeting was attended by Andaman and Nicobar lt governor Admiral DK Joshi; cabinet secretary PK Sinha; NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant; Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba; Environment, forests and climate change secretary CK Mishra; and representatives of the tourism, power, defence, health, telecommunications and civil aviation ministries.

The IDA was set up on June 1, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting for the holistic development of islands.

First Published: Nov 09, 2017 16:03 IST