Major infra push for A & N Islands

Top Ministers launch alternate sea route to Baratang **Lay stones for Port dev. projects
Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
5 Oct 2017

Committed to ensure last mile connectively and best infrastructure for strategically located and remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, top Ministers from the Union Government arrived in the city on Thursday to launch a series of projects here. On arrival, Union Home Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River development and Ganga Rejuvenation Mr Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, were accorded a warm welcome at the airport here.
At a grand function organized at BR Ambedkar auditorium in the city, the Union Home Minister inaugurated the Alternate Sea Route to Baratang Island, which was executed by Andaman Lakshadweep Habour Works, has been completed at a cost of Rs 45.16 crore to improve connectivity of the island from Port Blair, reduce traffic on the route which passes through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve and promote the tourism industry without disturbing the tribal areas.  The Union Ministers also laid the foundation stones for Extension of Wharf in Hope Town, Port Blair by 200 meters at an expenditure of Rs 17.49 crore, used by Indian Oil Corporation for discharging LPG and other petroleum products and the extension of jetty would allow berthing of bigger vessels of upto 160 meter length and higher capacity besides increasing availability of LPG cylinders in the area and reducing logistic costs. They also laid the foundation stone for construction of Additional Approach Jetty, extension of Berthing Jetty and Dredging in front of Jetty, Neil Island at a cost of Rs. 38.19 Crore and extension of existing New Dry Dock – II in Port Blair at a cost of Rs 96.24 Crore.
In his address, Mr Rajnath Singh said that the Centre is committed to ensure overall development of these islands. “Laying of foundation stones for four major projects is testimony that this remote archipelago is in course for major development in the days to some. To promote tourism, three new airlines will begin operations from Oct 29 this year between Port Blair and mainland sector. Under the proactive leadership of Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, India will be ranked among top three nations in the world by 2025-2030,” said Mr Singh.
Disclosing initiatives of his Ministry, Mr Nitin Gadkari said that an amount of Rs 63.55 crore has been sanctioned for purchase of 2 tugs for better and safe berthing. The availability of boats would help in reducing the turnaround time. New vessels are being constructed across various categories for augmenting shipping facilities in mainland-island, inter-island and Harbour sector, at a total cost of about 1350 crore, he informed.
“The Union Government is working tirelessly to improve the shipping sector in these islands. Redundant fleet of ships, routine repair and maintenance at Dry Docks in Chennai and abroad and huge expenditure incurred for the purpose is being viewed seriously. Under the Sagarmala initiative, projects worth around 16 lakh crore has been initiated to augment port connectivity in different parts of the country,” he said adding that by 2020 14 new passenger vessels will be inducted into the shipping fleet here besides establishing Ship Repair facility and introduction of cruise tourism.