Andaman and Nicobar islands are a part of the Indian archipelago that lies in the Bay of Bengal. It is roughly shared by 300 islands that are popular for their mangroves, white-sand beaches, palm-lined, and tropical rainforests. It is a tourist delight and nestled away from the din of busy lives.
However, despite its natural beauty, the Andamans have managed to still hide from the public eye and do not attract significant tourism. Another reason behind the few tourists is that the region is dominated by tribes who frown upon tourists and outsiders.
They disallow the public to traverse in restricted areas. They believe that commercialism will wreak havoc in this paradise and deteriorate their lives. Andaman tourism is strict because the Nicobarese and Shompens fear their quality of life if tourists infest the place.
However, over time, more and more people are traveling to the Andaman in search of solace and peace. These cases have significantly augmented during the lockdown, where many destinations had banned traveling.
The government that was paranoid and skeptical earlier regarding Andaman tourism is now broadening exploration and stripping away protections to make room for big businesses, tourists, and shipping projects.
HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?
After a comprehensive series of amendments, de-notifications, committee meetings, correspondence among officials and different states, the verdict has concluded that the archipelago will witness mega projects.
The government intends to tap into their beauty reserves to lure tourists and make profits from them. These upcoming projects guarantee employment and growth in the region, allowing them to move up globally.
Despite making a solid case, it goes against the initial chain of reasoning. The argument made to forbid tourists stresses that the Andamans possess the largest mangrove plantation in India, a superior medium of defense against natural disasters like cyclones, and the key to climate change mitigation in coastal areas.
The region is also replete with several distinct species of flora and fauna. They are home to tribal groups who continue to reside in the dense forests and are gratified with that lifestyle. They are mostly illiterate and continue to live in obsolete ways. Exhibiting such projects will impoverish the sanctity of these areas.
Setting up these establishments will annihilate the biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. It will cause irretrievable damage to them. Experts have manifested concerns regarding developments in these areas because they foster rare species of amphibians and reptiles.
He believes that by expanding developments in these areas, they will compromise an essential part of nature. The islanders will be at the mercy of the big project developers, forcing them to jostle for space and basic amenities like water, food, and electricity, which is already scarce around here.
In an interview, some islanders advocated bringing in developments because they believe it will boost affluence and prosperity. Others, however, blatantly opposed the idea and frowned upon it. They think that the locals are not adept or possess the capacity to be at par with these megaprojects, and they will have to fight for land in their own homes.
The entire project is under examination because the Andaman islands might become inhabitable by 2050. Their sea levels are rising to sublime extents, endangering lives. The islands are also very prone to earthquakes.