Andaman & Nicobar Islands Current Affairs
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) conducted the Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise named ‘Clean Sea-2017’ at sea off Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The objective of exercise was to ascertain preparedness of IGC, resource agencies and other stakeholders in responding to major oil spill in line with provisions of National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP).
Need for exercise
The Great Channel between Nicobar Islands and Northern Sumatra that leads into Malacca Straits is marine drive of high seas. Almost 200 ships cross 160-km wide Straits daily making it among busiest sea routes of world. Considering, high intensity of oil tanker traffic through this route, the area is highly vulnerable to oil spills. So there is need for robust national system for oil spill response is critical
Highlights of Clean Sea-2017
The exercise was planned to evaluate preparedness for Response Operations for any such oil pollution incident in highly sensitive area of A&B islands. The exercise was conducted in two phases for synchronizing support and cooperation provided by all stakeholders for combating oil spills in such ecologically sensitive areas.
The exercise saw participation of ICG Pollution Control Vessel and integration of ICG Dornier/Chetak aircraft into Oil Spill Disaster Management System for aerial assessment and delivery of Oil Spill Dispersant for mitigation of spilled oil.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Ministry of Defence is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters. It has drawn up National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and has established three pollution response centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair.
The second meeting of Island Development Agency (IDA) was held in New Delhi. It was chaired by Rajnath Singh. It reviewed concept development plans and detailed master plans for holistic development of 9 islands.
These 9 islands include four in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Smith, Ross, Long, Avis) and five in Lakshadweep (Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam, Suheli).
In the meeting, it was decided that Naval air station at Shibpur near Diglipur in northern Andaman & Nicobar Islands will be co-used as Joint User Airport. It was also decided to develop PPP package including airport (Joint User Airport) at Minicoy Island, to unlock the tourism potential.
It was agreed to promote tuna fishing industry for improving livelihoods in Lakshadweep. All concerned agencies were directed to expedite implementation of ongoing key infrastructure projects in islands and develop community based tourism in consultation with local stakeholders.
NITI Aayog was also asked to drive the formulation of PPP projects and proposed detailed guidelines to boost private sector participation. It aims at promoting and implementing development based on sustainable approach to building thriving maritime economy of project islands.
Island Development Agency (IDA)
The IDA was set up in June 2017 following Prime Minister’s review meeting for the holistic development of islands. Its first meeting was held in July 2017 were directions were given to identify and execute infrastructure and connectivity projects together with provisioning of water and electricity.
The meetings of the agency are chaired by the Union Home Minister. Members of IDA include cabinet secretary, home secretary, secretary (environment, forests and climate change), secretary (tourism) and secretary (tribal welfare).