GST to benefit consumers & traders, help economy grow: LG

Annual General Meeting of ACCI held
Report by: 
Port Blair
9 Jul 2017

The 50th Annual General Meeting of Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) was held at the conference hall of Hotel TSG Emerald View, Phoenix Bay here today. The Lt Governor, A&N Islands, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi graced the occasion as the chief guest while the Member of Parliament, Mr Bishnu Pada Ray was the guest of honour.
The Lt Governor expressed his happiness in attending the AGM of the ACCI which is instrumental in safeguarding the vital interests of businessmen of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. He said, the Chamber has also been in the forefront in fulfilling its social corporate responsibilities by taking up benevolent activities for the welfare of the society. The Lt Governor lauded the contribution of ACCI in the economic development of Isles.
Referring about GST, the Lt Governor said, for the first time in the history of our country, a financial advancement has been put in place in the form of GST. He lauded the will power shown by the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi in bringing the GST- One Nation, One Tax System and called upon the traders to register themselves and help Administration to implement this new tax system in letter and spirit in these Islands. The GST will firstly benefit the consumers as the goods will be cheaper, secondly, it will help in the upliftment of traders and lastly, the Govt. will be benefited as the economy will grow, the Lt Governor added.
Referring about various infrastructure projects coming up, especially roads & bridges in N&M Andaman, the Lt Governor stated that construction of the two lane Bridge over Humphrey Strait connecting Baratang Island and Middle & North Andaman has already commenced. As regard to the Middle Strait Creek Bridge, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has given the permission to construct the approach road, falling under the Jarawa Reserved Area. Accordingly, tender was opened in the month of June and work is in progress. The Lt Governor informed that Rs 9 crore has been awarded for maintenance work for ATR and work has already started. The work for widening and strengthening of ATR road 83KM has been awarded, he added.
The Lt Governor also informed about the developments in shipping sector. He said that the Directorate of Shipping Services presently operates 07 passenger-cum-cargo vessels in the Inter-Island sector providing services between Port Blair and Southern Group of Islands. The Directorate is also operating MV Badam exclusively for cargo transportation which has a capacity of 100 tons. MV Chuglam with a larger cargo of 500 tons is under survey/certification and is likely to join operation by August 2017, the Lt Governor added.
The Lt Governor disclosed that the new 2x500 and 2x1200 passenger vessels of the A & N Administration under construction at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) are likely to be ready by the end of 2019/early 2020. Keeping the futuristic operation in mind, these vessels will be provided with capabilities of carrying 10 containers and 40 containers respectively to transport containerized cargo in the Inter Island and Mainland Island sector, the Lt Governor added.
Pointing about status and administrative stand on diversion of land, the Lt Governor informed that the Andaman and Nicobar Administration is under the process of amendment to the Land Revenue and Land Reforms Rules. A Land Use Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary is likely to be formed.
The Lt Governor stated that Tourism Industry has not been affected by putting a check on the growing alcoholism in these Islands. The A&N Administration has decided not to go for total prohibition on sale of liquor in the Islands, but push for a check on the growing alcoholism among the youth and reduce liquor consumption. The new Excise Policy had come into effect in the A & N Islands from 1st January 2017. There is nothing to indicate that checking of growing alcoholism in local population would affect tourism industry. In fact, there is no evidence of tourism industry being affected even in States like Gujarat and Bihar, where there is a total Prohibition. Administration has been able to achieve its objective and there have been 43% reduction in alcohol consumption while 60.8% jump in tourism, the Lt Governor added. The Lt Governor also felicitated past Presidents, Mr HN Arora, Mr SC Malhotra, Mohd H.Jadwet and Mr G. Bhasker.
The Member of Parliament, Mr Bishnu Pada Ray stated that every individual has contributed towards the development of these Islands. Giving details of the development projects, Mr Ray informed that Mr Nitin Gadkari, the Minister of Road and Transport has sanctioned funds to develop the National Highway in A&N Islands. He said, Havelock Island has also been declared as National Highway and road widening work at Havelock will be taken up by the NHIDC Ltd. Shri Ray also informed that funds have been allocated for the widening and strengthening of ATR and the work for the same will start soon. He said that the widening of Marine Dockyard has already taken up by the ALHW. Referring to the two bridges connecting N&M Andaman, he said Islanders got the construction work of the bridges. Shri Ray thanked the Lt Governor for getting approval of the biggest project i.e Optical Fiber Cable project from the Govt of india connecting Chennai – Port Blair. Mr Ray further thanked the Lt Governor and the Deputy Commissioner for providing the dues of the ATI mazdoors fulfilling the long pending demand of the mazdoors. He urged the ACCI to look into the possibilities to discharge the waste water of hotels only after its treatment. He also urged the ACCI to ensure that contribution towards employees provident fund is deposited by the business establishments for the benefit of its employees. He also urged the ACCI to generously contribute towards the development of Viper Island. Shri Ray stated that with the implementation of GST, the islanders will be benefitted a lot. He further urged the ACCI members to tour Inter- Islands and make clear to the traders and people about the benefit of GST.
The President ACCI, Mr Girish Arora through a power point presentation informed about the functioning of the ACCI and the activities carried during the year 2015-16 and 2017 till date. He said Andaman Chamber of Commerce was established in the year 1962 and changed to ACCI in the year 1986. The total membership of the Chamber as on March 31, 2017 stood at 514, representing various traders and categories etc.
Mohd. H. Jadwet, Past President ACCI threw light on the 5 decade journey of the ACCI and informed that Shri Bhagwan Singh was the first President of Andaman Chamber of Commerce from 1962 to 1964 followed by Shri TS Guruswamy in the year 1965. He also paid tribute to the members who started the Chamber in A&N.
Mr Abhijit Agarwal, Member compeered the entire programme, which concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Mr G Bhasker, Past President of ACCI.