NEW DELHI: The Centre has identified 20 Islands out of 1,382 offshore isle for holistic development.
The decision was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. According to sources, some of these islands proposed to be developed are located in Andaman, Lakshadweep, Nicobar territory and off the coast of Kerala.
These islands have thick forest and natural water streams, which are “ideal for the holistic development”.
“These picturesque islands off Indian coasts provide twin opportunity. On one hand, they will boost the tourism and on the other they will provide strategic edge to the county as we are surrounded by some hostile neighbours,” sources said.
After 26/11 attacks, the government agencies had begun security audit of hundreds of islands, which they thought could become security threats. There are approximately 300 islands in the Andaman while 16 islands in Nicobar territory are uninhabited. Strategically the entire stretch is important for India to maintain the balance of power in the region. Many of these unmanned islands around Lakshadweep and off the coast of Kerala are also considered to be vulnerable to external threat.
Cards to fishermen
The meeting at North Block was also informed that some of the coastal states had raised the issues of biometric cards being issued to the fishermen and the card readers used by the coastal police.
The officials from Registrar General of India responsible for the project explained that the operational issues were being sorted out and the deadline for removing difficulties in the use of cards and the card readers will be fixed soon. The Home Minister directed the officials that all the issues related to biometric cards and card readers should be sorted out immediately in consultation with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).