A proposal for the 2200 km long optical fibre system for providing high speed internet on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has finally found clearance by an expert committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF). It will connect and digitise eight islands of Andaman and Nicobar. PM Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the project on December 30.
The Department of Telecoms submitted a report before the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF which reads that the new cable system will sport a high-speed of 100 Gigabit per second and “will be of immense strategic significance to India in addition to assisting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands communications security, especially during natural disasters or failures of other systems’’.
The complete project will cost around Rs 71.28 crore and will connect Indian mainland from Chennai with the eight islands of the Union Territory which includes Port Blair, Little Andaman (Hut Ba), Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar (Campbell Bay), Havelock, Long and Rangat.
The total length of the proposed project is 1400 km and the sub-marine cable system will be laid under the sea bed. It will be from Chennai To Port Blair is 1400km, Port Blair to Havelock is 48 km, Havelock to Long Island is 35 km, Long Island to Rangat is 37 km, Port Blair to Little andaman is 135 km, Little Andman to Car Nicobar is 146 km, Car Nicobar to Kamorta is 171 km and Kamorta to Campbell Bay is 100 km.
The project will complete in 24 months and is expected to complete by January 2020.
The upcoming project will help India and provide an important defence communication infrastructure in these islands. Meanwhile, the current source of connectivity on these islands is through satellites with limited bandwidth capacity.
The minutes of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) reads, “All 8 BMHs and 3 CLS are falling within the Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ) area as per the survey conducted by Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS), Anna University, Chennai’’.
“The Committee observed that, this study is required as abundant precaution in addition to the study report made available. The study should also highlight conservation and restoration measures for corals and associated flora and fauna’’, it adds.
The EAC also directed the Department to limit the damage to the corals by creating adequate safeguards and also carry out additional marine Environmental Impact Assessment study through the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, as part of the Detailed Project Report. The EAC has also asked the NIOT to be associated with the project until its completion.