Lt. Guv presents 4-month report card, reaffirms commitment for holistic dev. of isles

Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
16 Feb 2018

In his first interaction with members of the media fraternity here, the Lt. Governor, A & N Islands, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd) presented his four -month report card stating that the UT Administration in tandem with the Central Government has taken concrete steps in the recent years for the holistic development of this remote, but strategically important territory. Having toured extensively to different parts of these islands in the past four months after assuming charge, the Lt. Governor reiterated that the administration will leave no stone unturned to transform the lives of islanders and that progress in all sectors will be visible soon.
On the flagship Swachh Bharat Mission, the Lt. Governor informed that the entire chain of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will be declared Open Defecation Free soon. While the city has already achieved the milestone on Oct 2 last year, 100 percent households have been provided with toilets in rural areas, while 99 out of 141 community toilets have been constructed in different rural areas of these islands. Under the Smart City scheme, 13,500 street lights have been replaced with LED lights much ahead of the target date. Apart from this, 1300 LED Lights are being installed in the newly created 6 Municipal Wards, he said.
“The Nation Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has been tasked to install 15 MW Power Plant in South Andaman by March 31, 2018 to improve the power situation in these islands. Similarly, as a long term solution, 50 MW gas based Power Plant will be installed by NTPC in South Andaman region. Under the renewable energy sector, the Power Minister has asked the NTPC and the NLC to install Power Plants with ‘Battery Energy Storage system’. Besides, the PGCIL will develop an Energy Management Centre in these Islands for which the Power Ministry will provide funds. Further to attain self-sufficiency in power generation, installation of Solar Rooftop Power System and Solar Water Heater System is being made mandatory in all the Govt. and Private buildings for which the administration will provide financial support,” said the Lt. Governor.
“Sustainability, people’s participation, eco-system preservation and determination of carrying capacity will be the guiding principles for development of these islands. The Islands Development Agency, reconstituted under chairmanship of Home Minister with the Lt. Governor designated as the Vice Chairman, has been mandated to formulate an integrated Master Plan for comprehensive development of all our island territories, initiate projects and their implementation. A comprehensive report is being prepared for the holistic development of Ross & Smith, Avis Island in Diglipur and Long Island as also other locations in the Lakshadweep group. Besides this, with the support of NITI Aayog, more Islands will be developed in PPP mode through IDA.”

On vacant posts in different government departments, the Lt. Governor said that a massive drive will be launched to fill up sanctioned posts soon. “Group A and Group B posts will be filled up in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission, while the local administration will initiate a drive to fill up Group C posts in different categories. “After learning about shortage of teachers, instructions have been issued to engage teachers on contract basis. Location for establishing a Sainik School in these islands has also been finalised,” informed the Lt. Governor.
Boosting road and air connectivity is on the priority list of the administration. An MoU has been signed with the Ministry of Civil Aviation for introducing air services between Port Blair, Car Nicobar, Campbell Bay and Shibpur and land acquisition process for the construction of airstrips in Shibpur and Campbell Bay is underway. Efforts are also being made to ensure that the airports are of dual-use and available for passenger and defence aircrafts, informed the Lt. Governor.  On roads & bridges, he informed that sea depth was the major factor for delay in finalization of the Chatham-Bambooflat bridge. A solution has now been worked out and it has been decided that the bridge to be constructed will be in arc-shape. Further, 80 percent works of the National Highway have been awarded and are in different stages of execution while tender for the remaining 20 percent work will be floated soon. The work for the bridge over Humphrey Strait is progressing well while the tender process for the Middle Strait Bridge has been completed, he said.
Tender for the Submarine Optical Fibre Cable connecting Chennai and Port Blair and 5 different Islands has been opened on 06.02.2018. The Telecom Commission has granted permission to erect towers in places where the population is over 100 people. The BSNL has been asked to share its towers with private players to expand the telecom coverage. The Central Govt. has also approved the proposal for increasing the Satellite Bandwidth by 1Gbps. The available bandwidth is expected to increase from present 1.3Gbps to 2.7Gbps by end of 2018. This will include augmentation due to satellite bandwidth and use of IP modems, informed Admiral DK Joshi.
In the year 2017, 4,87,000 tourists visited these islands, which is an increase of 21.80 percent from the previous year. As part of efforts to provide better tourism infrastructure here, Sea Mohwa Grove Eco- Friendly tourism site was operationalized by the Forest Department at Lalaji Bay in Long Island recently, where other projects are also under consideration through IDA.
“The work of passenger hall at Hutbay is completed and will become operational soon. The extension work of the existing dry dock by ALHW is also on fast track and is expected to be completed by December, 2018. Steps are being taken with the help of Central agencies to augment ship repair facilities in the islands. This will not only give fillip to shipping industry here but also reduce the time required in ship maintenance and repair. This will also generate employment and help in improving the skill-set of persons associated with shipping sector.”

“Administration is committed towards providing better health services to the public. Work for a separate ‘MDR TB ward’ and ‘Eye Burns & Oncology ward’ in G B Pant Hospital have been completed and will be operational soon. Apart from this, opening of a Trauma Centre in Dr R P Hospital Mayabunder, Primary Health Centre at Durgapur in Diglipur, Urban Health Centre at Dollygunj, Health Sub Centre at Wrafter Creek.”
A Modern Veterinary Hospital at Diglipur and a Composite Livestock Farm has been started at Nanjappa Nagar in Little Andaman. A new Fish Landing centre is under utilisation at Neil Island since September 2017. For the safe berthing of boats, ‘High Density Polyethylene Floating Jetty’ are being constructed in different Islands. The modernised fish markets, one each at Junglighat and Mohanpura are expected to be completed by the end of this year, added the Lt. Governor.