The government has drawn the broad contours inviting private players to develop India’s islands into world-class tourist destinations. NITI Aayog has recently come out with a draft concession agreement for development and operation of these island resorts and supporting infrastructure in public-private partnership mode. This was quoted in The Economic Times.
The Aayog hopes to use the agreement, developed in consultation with the ministry of tourism, as the base document for developing specific eco-tourism projects.
As per the agreement, the concessionaire will have the exclusive right, license and authority to construct, operate and maintain the project and provide hospitality services during the concession period of 66 years.
The government, on its part, has eased the regulations for developing these zones and will provide land on the 10 identified islands for project development. These anchor tourism projects identified will be developed on government-owned land in Smith, Aves, Long, Neil & Little Andaman Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and in Kadmat, Suheli and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep.
“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,” the Aayog said in an agreement.
Besides, the concessionaire shall be entitled to develop the beach for providing beach facilities such as beach activities (jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, game fishing, kayaking, water surfing, paragliding etc.), beach beds, changing rooms, watch towers 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,” it said, adding that the concessionaire shall be liable for any wrong on the beach during these activities.
The Aayog has sought suggestions from all stakeholders by October 17 following which it will hold a stakeholder meeting on October 23 to finalise the document which will kick-start the process of inviting tenders for the projects.
The government looks to open up to 100 islands in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep for the development of eco-tourism on PPP mode. Under the Holistic Development of Islands programme, 10 islands in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep have been taken up for development in the first phase.
The government has already set up the Island Development Agency (IDA) in 2017 as an apex body under the chairmanship of home minister Rajnath Singh while the Aayog has been mandated to steer the holistic development programme along with respective state government or union territory administration, as the case may be.
The government has already carried out the detailed land survey and demarcation of project sites, carrying a capacity assessment of the project islands, coastal regulation zone application and pre-feasibility study.