Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched and dedicated to the nation the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland on 10 August 2020.
The foundation stone for the project was laid by the PM on 30 December 2018 at Port Blair.
The project involved laying of around 2,300 km submarine cable. It has been completed before the set target. The project has overcome challenges such as surveying in the deep sea, maintaining the quality of the cable and laying the cable with specialised vessels.
The project also had to overcome challenges such as high waves, storms and monsoons and tough times owing to the corona pandemic.
The service has begun from 10 August 2020 on a major chunk of the islands from Chennai to Port Blair, Port Blair to Little Andaman and Port Blair to Swaraj Island.
The submarine cable will help Andaman & Nicobar Islands in getting cheaper and better connectivity and all the benefits of Digital India, especially in improving online education, tele- medicine, banking system, online trading and boosting tourism.
Under the Act-East policy, the role of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India’s strong relations with East Asian countries and other countries connected to the sea is very high and going to increase. The Island Development Agency was formed three years ago to strengthen its role.
The projects which were not completed in Andaman and Nicobar Islands for years are now rapidly getting completed.
The High Impact Projects are being expanded in 12 islands of Andaman and Nicobar. Apart from providing for better internet and mobile connectivity, the government’s effort is to further improve physical connectivity through road, air and water.
The Port Blair Airport is being enhanced to handle a capacity of 1,200 passengers. Along with this the airports are ready for operations in Diglipur, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay.
Moreover, the passenger terminal in Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep and Long Island along with water aerodrome infrastructure like floating jetty will be ready in coming months.
The four ships being built at Kochi Shipyard will be delivered soon to improve water connectivity between the islands and the mainland.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands will be developed as a hub of port-led development as it is at a competitive distance from many ports of the world.
The government’s focus is also on promoting ease of business in the sea and simplifying maritime logistics. The government has undertaken speedy construction of the deep draft inner
harbor and the proposal to construct Trans Shipment Port in Great Nicobar at an estimated cost of about Rs 10,000 crore. This will enable big ships to anchor and increase India’s share in
maritime trade, along with new employment opportunities.
Apart from this, blue economy such as fisheries, aquaculture and seaweed farming in the island will accelerate in commensurate with the modern infrastructure being developed in Andaman
and Nicobar Islands.