In a bid to develop India's islands into world class tourist destinations, the government has drawn a broad plan to invite private players for the task. NITI Aayog recently came up with a draft concession agreement that allows for the development and operation of these island resorts. The document has been prepared by NITI Aayog in consultation with Ministry of Tourism. They are hoping to use the agreement as the base document to develop specific eco-tourism projects.
According to a report in The Economic Times, the concessionaire would have the exclusive right, licence and authority to construct, operate and maintain the project and provide hospitality for a period of 66 years. Additionally, the government has eased the regulations for development of these zones on these lands.
The 10 identified islands where these tourist projects will be developed on government-owned land are Smith, Aves, Long, Neil & Little Andaman Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and in Kadmat, Suheli and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep.
NITI Aayog said that the concessionaire will have to undertake designing, construction, finance, development, operation and maintenance of the following additional facilities, the ancillary facilities, as part of the project. They will also be entitled to develop the beach for activites such as jet skiing, snorkelling, kayaking, water surfing etc.
"The concessionaire shall be responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and security of any such beach facilities while also ensuring that these activities are managed and undertaken in accordance with applicable laws and applicable permits," NITI Aayog said, as mentioned in the daily.
NITI Aayog has asked for suggestions from all stakeholders by October 17, after which it will hold a stakeholder meeting on October 23, where the document will be finalised. Following this, invitation will be extended for tenders.
The government is planning to open up 100 islands in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep for development of eco-tourism. Ten islands have been picked for development under the Holistic Development of Islands programme. Detailed land survey and demarcation of project sites, carrying capacity assessment has already been undertaken.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)