Singapore is a very small country but that does not stop tourists thronging there. That’s thanks to its development of its islands, most prominent amongst them being Sentosa.
Taking a leaf out of this tourism lesson from Singapore, the Niti Aayog has proposed something similar in India. It plans to develop 9 islands and all in Andaman and Lakshwadeep. And those which have been identified are Smith Island, Ross Island, Avis Island and Long Island in Andaman & Nicobar. In the Lakshadweep, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Suheli, Cheriyam and Minicoy will be developed.
The Niti Aayog has stated proudly that while Singapore has earmarked 10% of its area for parks and natural resources but in India, 90% of the Andaman & Nicobar islands are notified as reserved or deemed forest with only 6% of land available for development.
This is a great plan, no doubts about it. But the big worry is here that, at least based on past track records, such plans are usually means to give wind to more corruption as land deals get involved. And we hope that these pristine islands, currently untouched by rest of the country, does not see rampant slum development and haphazard, unauthorized layouts. We are not being pessimistic but in the past, this is always how the dice has rolled hence cannot help but be skeptical.