Administrator’s Advisory Council meeting held

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Issues pertaining to security & projects for holistic development of Isles discussed


          Port Blair, Nov. 17: The meeting of the Administrator’s Advisory Council, A&N Islands was held in the conference hall of Megapode Resort here this afternoon under the chairmanship of the Lt. Governor, A&N Islands, Admiral D. K. Joshi. The Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray, Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Anindo Majumdar, PBMC Chairperson, Shri Indra Pal Singh, Adhyaksha, ZPSA, Smti Baby Fareeda, Adhyaksha, ZPNMA, Smti Kalpana Bain, representatives of political parties, PRIs and PBMC, besides senior officers of the Administration attended this meeting.

        Speaking on the occasion, the Lt. Governor said, this meeting will be held on a regular basis now onwards as all agenda and broad policy issues for the holistic development of the Islands are discussed during this meeting. Thanking the participants for their valuable suggestions, the Lt. Governor said, all issues raised by them and their suggestions have been noted. All proposals will be discussed and the appropriate ones will be taken up for implementation. He also urged the officers of the Administration to conduct more outreach visits. Taking note that most people present in today’s meeting highlighted about the issues of shipping services, the Lt. Governor said, additional ships will start joining the fleet of our Shipping Service from next year onwards. Power sector, he said, will be strengthened by putting in place a feasible mixture of all sources of energy. Regarding Tourism, he said, the NITI Aayog has agreed for opening more Islands for tourism purpose in A&N Islands. About connectivity issue, the Lt. Governor said, the undersea Optical Fibre Cable project is expected to materialize by December 2018 and the Administration is making every effort in this regard.

        Briefing the gathering about the issues discussed during the last meeting, action taken on them and the agenda for today’s meeting, the Chief Secretary, Shri Anindo Majumdar highlighted important issues like security of the Islands with regard to illegal immigration and steps taken so far to control the influx of population from outside. He urged the public and PRI representatives to report about new and unknown faces to the concerned authorities. Other issues such as conservation plan for Cellular Jail under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, creation of audio guide for the Cellular Jail and other  national sites, up-gradation of Light & Sound Show of Cellular Jail etc. under Art & Culture Department, various urban development activities by the Port Blair Municipal Council, water supply issues, roads and bridges in the Islands, sanitation, Information Technology, health care facilities, telecom connectivity, present status of acquisition of ships  by the Administration was also highlighted by the Chief Secretary. He also informed the gathering that establishment of a multi disciplinary professional college under RUSA scheme has been approved and will be established at Port Blair. The proposal for establishing a Central University in A&N Islands is also under active consideration by the Govt. of India. He also spoke about the Rural Development, PRIs and ULBs activities and stressed that PRIs must take concrete steps for revenue generation.

        The Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray through a power point presentation highlighted matters concerning the security of the Islands, especially that of illegal immigration. He urged for setting up of a strong mechanism to prevent such immigrants and activities of certain dubious organizations. The Panchayats should maintain records of newly arrived people; while containers at the export as well as arrival points should also be scanned to keep away unwanted materials from coming into the Isles, the MP said. He said, a Surveillance Committee should be involved in identifying the immigrants; while local agencies must coordinate in handling poaching activities in the Islands. He suggested for creating Lookout Posts in the Islands. The MP also raised issues viz. rural roads under ZP and stressed the need for allocating more funds for construction and maintenance of rural roads. He also urged for implementing the recommendations of the 4th Finance Commission. He suggested measures like online purchase of medicines, online tendering process to save funds which can be diverted to PRIs. Regarding procurement of ships, the MP said, representatives from Nicobar, Campbell Bay and the MP should be involved in the Ship Procurement Committee. He also spoke about preserving the heritage of the Islands and urged the Administration to rebuild Viper Island for preserving its heritage, widen the road to Mt. Harriet, rebuilding of the Netaji Club and taking better care of the Cellular Jail Museum. He also lauded Shri Mukeshwar Lal for establishing a world class museum – Kalapani in Port Blair and requested the Administration to popularize it. He also requested the Administration to identify more heritage sites in the Isles and also to re-visit the Heritage Committee.

        Expressing his views, the PBMC Chairperson, Shri IP Singh requested the Administration for raising the fund allocated to PBMC in view of the fact that the number of wards have gone up from earlier 18 to now 24. He also requested for granting one time relaxation to all building violators which will enable the PBMC to earn some revenue by way of imposing fine for such relaxation. He also urged for waiving off the water charges that PBMC owes to APWD, regularization of casual labours of PBMC etc.

        The Adhyaksha, ZPSA, Smti Baby Fareeda urged the Administration for creation of a museum using various wartime remains in the Isles, considering acceptance of offline line applications for various scholarships for students in view of the poor internet connectivity in the Isles besides highlighting other issues concerning the ZPSA.

        The Adhyaksha, ZPNMA, Smti Kalpana Bain requested for implementing solar power projects in North & Middle Andaman besides creation of recreational parks, facilites of water sports activities including swimming pool etc. She also requested for constructing a bridge between Kalighat and Nishchintapur and berthing of Kolkata bound ships to Diglipur.

        The State President, BJP, Shri Vishal Jolly while speaking advocated for involving bigger agencies for handling immigration issues. He also suggested for procuring the rice grown by Isles’ farmers by the Civil Supplies Department for distribution under PDS in Isles. Shri Jolly also requested the Administration for increasing the old age, handicapped and destitute pensions from the present Rs. 2000 to Rs. 4000 per month. He also urged the Administration to fill up the vacant posts in various Departments, particularly the Revenue Department.

        The ACCI President, Shri Girish Arora suggested that the contractors bringing labour force into the Islands must submit their lists upon which the Police can take action in illegal immigration matters. He also highlighted the issues of garbage disposal in the Islands and said more funds are needed by the PRIs for collection, segregation and its disposal. The garbage ultimately should be sent out of the Islands, he said. He also advocated for establishing desalination plants in Isles under PPP mode. He also requested the Administration for allowing diversion of land for commercial activities besides reviewing of the master plan.

        The Executive Member, Tribal Council, Car Nicobar, Shri Amin Musa urged the Administration for pressing the services of good ships, restarting the Boeing flight of Air India to the southern group of Islands. He urged for providing better medical facilities in Nicobar group of Islands and also requested for including Nicobar in the heritage of Isles.

        The President, PCC, Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, President, AATO, Shri M. Vinod, President, TDP, A&N Islands, Shri Manikya Rao, President BSP, Shri Harish Ansalem, Secretary, CPI (M), Shri Laxman Rao, Organizing Secretary DMK, A&N Islands, Shri A.R. Marudhavanan, HMAC Member, Dr. Rohinder Lal, elected representatives of PRIs and PBMC also expressed their views and made valuable suggestions during the meeting.