Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- The Stage-1 clearance for the project was granted in October 2022, two years after the application was received.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs shows that the island administration neither recognised nor granted ownership of any forest land to local tribes as per FRA before Stage-I clearance was granted.
- According to the Forest Conservation Rules 2017, any diversion of forest land would first require the District Collector to recognise and vest rights to locals under the FRA.
The justification of the A&N administration:
- The power of notification and de-notification of the land as a Tribal Reserve is solely administered under the A&N Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Act, 1956.
- So there is no claim as such for settlement under the FRA 2006.
The GNI Project:
- It is a ₹72,000-crore mega project piloted by NITI Aayog for the “holistic development” of the Great Nicobar Island (GNI), situated at the southern end of the A&N group of Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
- It is being implemented by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO).
- The plan has four components –
- A ₹35,000 crore transhipment port at Galathea Bay,
- A dual-use military-civil international airport,
- A power plant, and
- A township
- The project intends to use about114 sq. km of tribal reserve forest land, where the Shompen (a PVTG) and the Nicobarese reside.
- The northern end of the project falls in the biosphere reserve.