CHENNAI: Nearly 15 years after the devastating Tsunami, India is rebuilding the lost road link to the Southernmost tip, Indira Point, in Great Nicobar Island.
The 46 Border Roads Task Force (BRITF) is fast-tracking the 25-km road project from Shastri Nagar to Indira Point. The previous North-South Road from Campbell Bay to Indira Point, was all along the coastline, which was constructed by the erstwhile 50 BRTF under Project Yatrik and was handed over to Andaman Public Works Department (APWD) in the year 1990. During the 2004 Tsunami, a major part of the road was washed away, besides causing permanent topographical changes.
There was substantial delay in re-laying the road as the previous road alignment is not feasible and new alignment has to cut through the reserve forests. However, now the new alignment has been approved.
Lieutenant Colonel Arun Kumar Singh, commander of 46 BRITF, Port Blair, told Express that the work on the strategic road network from Shastri Nagar to Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island, is progressing smoothly.
“The total road length has been divided into four phases and the work on the first two phases is nearing completion. We have sought forest diversion of about 30 hectares for the remaining two phases which is currently under process. Stage-2 clearance for Phase-3 is expected in the next financial year.
It also involves the construction of a 260 metre-bridge over Galathia River, which will be undertaken simultaneously by a contractor,” Singh said and added that there is no alternative alignment available except forest land.
BRITF will shortly be submitting a detailed proposal to the Regional Office, Chennai, for prior approval to commence the Phase-3 road works.
About 10 hectares of forest in Nicobar division will be used for construction, which will be compensated by double the non-forest area identified for compensatory afforestation. Phase-4 involves larger diversion of forest area of about 20 hectares in Cambell Bay village.
Indira Point is the most prominent landmark at the southernmost tip of the Republic of India. Just 125 km away from the epicentre of the earthquake that jolted the Indian Ocean region on December 26, 2004, this was the first landmass hit by the waves in the Northwest direction gulping about 20 km of land.
Meanwhile, the Union Environment Ministry has also granted Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for construction of a 2-lane bridge over Middle Strait Creek connecting South Andaman Island and Baratang Island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.