The union cabinet has approved a Rs 1,102.38 crore undersea project for enabling a direct communication link between the mainland and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The link would be established through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC).
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.
This approval would equip Andaman and Nicobar Islands with appropriate bandwidth and telecom connectivity for implementation of e-governance initiatives; establishment of enterprises and e-commerce facilities.
It will also enable “the provision of adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing, availability of job opportunities and fulfill the vision of Digital India”, an official statement said.
“The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are of immense strategic significance for India. The geographical configuration and the location of the island 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,” the statement said.
“It is essential to have submarine OFC connectivity between mainland India and the islands as it is the only option for catering to projected future bandwidth requirements,” it added.