Shri Sharma said while along with the rest of India, the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands were suffering and fighting against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic for survival, they were subjected to yet another bigger and unbearable problem of acute scarcity drinking water in the Islands. He said, it is very painful to inform that, the Islands despite receiving an average annual rainfall of 3000 mm, the Islanders have to suffer from acute scarcity of potable water.
While inviting the attention of the House, he said Andaman and Nicobar Islands falls under seismic zone 5 and is subjected to occurrence of Tsunami, earthquake, cyclones quite frequently. The people of South Andaman are served by a lone Dam and if it gets damaged due to natural disaster, the people will be deprived of drinking water which is bare minimum necessity for survival of life. He said that, during this March to August beside the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, the Islanders were severely suffering from scarcity of water as it was supplied once in seven days and that too for fifteen minutes only. Further, due to Lockdown imposed by the Government to prevent spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the people could not even go out of their home for search of water from some nearby sources.
In order to tide over the crisis of potable water, Shri Sharma through the Hon'ble Speaker invited the attention of the Government towards the Flat Bay water project which was conceived 22 years back during 1998 and survey also conducted for feasibility at a cost of Rs.287 lakhs. He said that to complete the project around Rs.2000 Crores will be required and requested the government through the medium of House to sanction this additional fund to tune of Rs.2000 crores exclusively for the Flat Bay Water Project, as the annual budgetary allocation of around Rs.5000 Crores which the Andaman and Nicobar Islands receives from the Central Government gets utilised for other developmental activities. Shri Sharma said that the Flat Bay Water Project will benefit around 3(three) lakh population and will be able to meet the fresh water requirement for at least a period of 10 years. He also emphasized that as Andaman and Nicobar Islands are well known for tourism, easy availability of fresh water will benefit the tourism industry which will ultimately help in solving the problem of unemployment being faced by the youths of these Islands.