The Union Cabinet approved a Rs 1,102.38 crore project for a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between the mainland in Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The project to be completed by December 2018, will link Chennai with Port Blair and five other islands of Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar.
“The approval would equip Andaman & Nicobar Islands (ANI) with appropriate bandwidth and telecom connectivity for implementation of e-Governance initiatives; establishment of enterprises & e-commerce facilities.
“It will also enable the provision of adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing, availability of job opportunities and fulfil the vision of Digital India,” said an official statement.
“The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are of immense strategic significance for India. The geographical configuration and the location of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands chain in the Bay of Bengal safeguard India’s eastern seaboard. Provision of secure, reliable, robust, and affordable telecom facilities in these islands is of importance from a strategic point of view to the country and also an important requirement for the socio-economic development of the islands,” said the statement.
“Lack of bandwidth and telecom connectivity is also hampering socio-economic development of the islands. Hence it is essential to have submarine OFC connectivity between the Mainland India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, being the only option for catering to projected future bandwidth requirements,” it added.