NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked the NITI aayog to expedite development of 26 islands in the country for integrated tourism eco-system. Modi laid thrust on energy self-sufficiency of the islands based on solar energy during a review meeting of the Islands Development Agency.
NITI Aayog made a presentation before the Prime Minister on elements of holistic development of islands, which included key infrastructure projects, digital connectivity, green energy, desalination plants, waste management, promotion of fisheries, and tourism-based projects. Incidentally, the Centre had constituted the Islands Development Agency on June 1 last year. As many as 26 islands have been listed for holistic development with stated aims to develop them into tourist attractions on the lines of popular South-east Asian beach destinations.
Prime Minister, while reviewing the work done in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, stressed on the need for developing an integrated tourism-centric ecosystem, in the areas identified for tourism development, said a senior official. Modi sought expeditious pursuit of energy self-sufficiency in the islands with preference for solar energy, added the official.
The Prime Minister was also briefed on the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs to dispense with the requirement of “Restricted Area Permit” for foreigners visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The officials stated that the review meeting also deliberated on ways to ensure greater connectivity of the 26 identified islands with South East Asia.
The officials brought to the notice of Prime Minister during review of development work in Lakshadweep of the steps taken to boost Tuna fishing. Steps are being taken for the promotion of “Lakshadweep Tuna” as a brand, added the official.
Development of vital infrastructure in both Andaman and Nicobar islands, as well as in Lakshadweep was discussed.
“The Prime Minister asked the concerned officials to explore the possibility of seaweed cultivation, besides initiatives which could help the agriculture sector,” said the official.
The review meeting was attended by Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh, the Lt. Governors of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, CEO NITI Aayog Amitabh kant, and senior officials from various ministries of the Central government.