Port Blair: Acknowledging the strategic importance of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the central government plans to invest Rs 15,000 crore for various developmental projects here, it was announced on Saturday.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that out of this, projects worth Rs 10,000 crore have already commenced.
The announcement came after Gadkari and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday laid the foundation stones for a series of projects in the islands, a statement from the Shipping Ministry said.
During the event, Rajnath Singh said the government was developing the islands while acknowledging their “strategic importance”.
He added that India was emerging as a powerful nation in terms of economy and security, and that no nation could destabilize it “as the government was strengthening the security on all fronts”.
The Home Minister added that out of the 1,382 islands in the country, 10 have been selected for infrastructure development, out of which five were located in the A&N Islands.
Singh added that an Island Development Agency (IDA) has been created for taking care of the development and security of these islands.
“A&N Islands may be far from New Delhi geographically, but are close to New Delhi emotionally,” the statement quoted him as saying.
Gadkari added that tourism sector had good prospects in the islands and that better roads, round the clock power and good hotels were needed to boost tourism, which will also generate employment for the youth.
Among the projects for which the foundation stones were laid included rehabilitation and upgradation of NH-4 to two-lanes from Austin Creek to Kalara at Diglipur, and Beodnabad-Ferrargunj section of the NH-4 at Baratang.
The Ministers also laid the foundation stone of major bridges over Humphrey Strait Creek and Middle Strait Creek at Baratang, the statement added.