From hospitality to road construction to industries, the Union home ministry is vetting 41 proposals for projects under a development scheme for ecologically sensitive islands of Lakshadweep, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The proposed projects include those from Indian Hotels-owned Taj Exotica, RDS Road Construction, Arun Hospital, Hadwet Resorts, and Andaman Cold Chain among others.
In January 2019, the Union government had notified Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Island Development Scheme (LANIDS) to incentivise setting up of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the islands.
Email queries sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIPP) on status of applications under the scheme remained unanswered till press time on Sunday. Several applicants told ET that the security and environmental clearances were “too tedious” with a lot of paperwork.
“The scheme has several flaws,” said MA Tawheed whose Andaman Buildsmore Private Limited has applied for setting up a manufacturing unit for PVC, blocks and roofing. “Not many private entities have been able to get the clearances. The paperwork needs to be simplified,” he told ET over the phone.
The scheme designed by DIPP offered incentives on liabilities accrued up to March 25, 2025, for units registered till March 31, 2021. The incentive included capital investment, interest subsidy, GST, income-tax reimbursement, transport and employment benefits.
Officials said environment and coastal regulation zone clearances have already been obtained for some tourism projects of Andaman.
MHA has identified 16 islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and 10 in Lakshadweep for development by promoting tourism and offering facilities for export of seafood and coconut-based products, they said.
Approvals were accorded for setting up of infrastructure projects such as creation of jetties, roll-on/roll-off ships, bridges on Andaman Trunk Road, and upgradation of Diglipur airport. In Lakshadweep, there are plans afoot to boost tuna fishing and promote ‘Lakshadweep tuna’ as a brand, one of the officials said.
In 2018, the home ministry excluded 29 inhabited islands of Andaman & Nicobar Islands from the restricted area permit (RAP) regime until December 31, 2022 with certain conditions. Soon after the relaxation of RAPs, a US national, John Allen Chau was killed by tribesmen at North Sentinelese Island while trying to establish contact with people of this isolated tribe of an estimated 50-100 people.