Solar installations plundered from eco-tourism site in Middle Andaman

Report by: 
V SENTHIL KUMAR
RANGAT
22 Mar 2017

Plunder of Solar Lights from a prominent tourist destination in the Middle Andaman region has become an impediment for the Department of Environment and Forest which is striving to promote eco-tourism in the region. The district is home to some fabulous destinations which had, over the years, remained unexplored. But after the initiative of the Forest Department, which impeccably developed sites like Amkunj beach, Morrice Dera, Dhanni Nallah in Middle Andaman, tourist footfalls witnessed a surge. To promote the industry, the Forest Department installed Solar Lights at various tourist locations including Morice Dera, but for poor watch and ward by the agencies concerned, batteries and other equipment of the Solar Light Installations at Morrice Dera have been plundered by miscreants.
“Amkunj and Morrice Dera are two prominent tourist spots in Middle Andaman.
Besides tourists, locals flock the sites for weekend and holiday bashings. The Forest Department made extreme efforts to titivate the locations by creating eco-friendly huts and other facilities. The move to install Solar Lights was needed as the spots were rendered grim dark in the absence of streets lights. The Forest department installed many solar lights at Amkunj and Morrice Dera few months ago. However, almost all of these Solar Lights have been left ‘dead’ at Morrice Dera as batteries and other crucial fittings have been stolen. As a result, the Morrice Dera bears a deserted look after dusk. Anti-social activities are on the rise in the eco-tourism site. The government agencies should take immediate measures to maintain the popularity of the recently developed tourism spot,” said some residents of Rangat.
An official of the Rangat Forest Division, on conditions of anonymity, said that the law enforcing agencies should ensure strict vigil in the area to prevent plunder of crucial installations executed from government funds. “The Forest Department has expended several lakhs of rupees to install Solar Lights in the tourist sites as part of its endeavor to promote tourism in the district. Similar installations at Amkunj beach have also been plundered in the past. The Forest Department is pursuing the matter seriously with the Police,” the official said.