Social Impact Assessment (SIA) report for Greater Nicobar International Airport- Violates the A&N PAT Regulation, 1956

Andaman And Nicobar


Social Welfare Dept

A&N Administration 


I refer to the “Social Impact Analysis” study published by you at

It is unfortunate that the report was prepared by a so-called “consultant”  who does not appear to have an understanding of the socio-economic milieu of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, in particular of the presence of highly vulnerable tribal groups, namely, Shompens and Nicobarese. Any project in Greater Nicobar Island, irrespective of its location and the extent of land occupied, has both direct and indirect impacts on those two tribal groups but the SIA report is totally silent on it.

Apparently, the Social Welfare Department is unaware of the Constitutional protection conferred on such tribals and the likely impact of such a huge project and its downstream implications in terms of tourism and increased footprint on the Tribal Reserve declared under A&N Islands Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation (ANIPATR) notified through a Presidential Proclamation in 1956 under Article 243(2) of the Constitution.

Section 11 of the above cited Constitutional Regulation prohibits the application of any other law that violates the intent of that Regulation. The said Section is extracted below:

“The provisions of this Regulation and of any rule made thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any such law, or in any usage or agreement, or in any decree or order of any court or other authority.”

Evidently, the SIA study has been prepared in a routine manner under the 2013 land acquisition Act. Since, the requirements of ANIPATR stand violated by the nature of the SIA study, in my view, it is prima facie illegal.

Any social impact study of such a huge project, if it fails to evaluate its impact on the Tribal Reserve declared as such under ANIPATR, would have no legal validity. An SIA study of this kind in which the impact of a project on aboriginal tribes cannot be done by any agency without expert inputs from reputed anthropologists and, in particular from the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) that has done studies on Shompens and Nicobarese, would be misleading and meaningless.

If the A&N administration can get an SIA study prepared with help from ASI, such a study needs to be placed before the Tribal Council constituted under Section 3(1) of ANIPATR for their prior consent, without which the whole process of the SIA would stand legally vitiated.

I am surprised that the A&N administration, whose primary responsibility should be that of a custodian of the interests of the local tribals, should permit its Social Welfare Department to undertake such a pedestrian, prima facie illegal SIA study. It speaks volumes of the administration’s insensitivity and indifference to the interests of the tribals.

I therefore demand that the SIA study prepared at such a high cost to the public exchequer without complying with the statutory requirements be withdrawn forthwith.

I am marking a copy of this letter to the Chief Secretary (A&N), Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Constitutional authority, the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes (NCST) before whom an earlier complaint of mine is in process.

Yours faithfully

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Government of India


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