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VP Calls for Inclusion of Veer Savarkar and Other Freedom Fighters’ Life Stories in Textbooks

Stresses the Importance of Sustainable Development in the Islands

Port Blair, Jan 17: The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today suggested the inclusion of the life stories of Veer Savarkar and other heroes of the freedom struggle from different parts of the country, in school textbooks. Participating in a Civic Reception hosted in his honor by the Port Blair Municipal Council (PBMC), he said that the historical role of the Cellular Jail in Andaman in the freedom movement should also form part of History textbooks. He also urged all Members of Parliament, MLAs and MLCs from across the country to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Cellular Jail.

Recalling his visit to the Cellular Jail the previous day, Shri Naidu described it as a pilgrimage to a sacred temple. Decrying the attempts to create divisive tendencies among the people, he said that unity is the need of the hour. Pointing out that our freedom was hard won, he urged all citizens to draw inspiration from the story of India's struggle for independence and from the countless sacrifices made by our freedom fighters and strive to reinforce the unity and integrity of this nation.

Earlier in the day, the Vice President inaugurated the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre at Haddo in Port Blair. He released butterflies and went around the butterfly conservatory at the Park.

He also flagged off AC buses. The Vice President complimented the Andaman & Nicobar Administration for the initiative and said that it would provide sustainable mobility solutions and help in keeping the Islands clean and green.

Praising the Administration for banning the use of single-use-plastics and for implementing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in letter and spirit, Shri Naidu said that these initiatives including the increase in renewable energy capacity would promote sustainable development in the Islands.

Expressing his concern about the vulnerability of the Islands to climate change, the Vice President said that India was playing a leadership role in promoting renewable energy, especially solar energy through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance.

Highlighting the role of connectivity in development, the Vice President expressed confidence that submarine Optical Fibre cable connectivity that is set to be operational by June 2020 would transform the development of the Islands. “Four routes in the Islands have been included in UDAN for regional connectivity and International air travel is expected to be operational from Port Blair this year”, he added.

Launching the project for the replacement of traditional electricity meters with smart meters, Shri Naidu termed it as a pro-poor move. The Vice President said that smart meters will increase the ease of bill payment and eliminate the possibility of incorrect billing. He added that paperless billing with smart meters would also help the environment by saving the trees. He also laid the foundation stones for Feacal Sludge Treatment Plant, Marine Esplanade and Neighborhood Park, by pressing the remote control.

Earlier, the Vice President visited a photo gallery and exhibition put up by the Port Blair Municipal Council on ‘Sanitation and Solid waste management’. The gallery showcased the best practices of the PBMC in the arena of sanitation and solid waste management, such as the use of 10 percent plastic in road construction and the restoration of traditional Japanese wells under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan.

In his address on the occasion, Lt. Governor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Vice Chairman, Islands Development Agency, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd.) at the outset welcomed the Vice President on behalf of the A&N Administration and the Islanders. He mentioned that through the Island Development Agency, two transformational projects have been inaugurated during this month. On January 9, the cable laying work of the Optical Fibre Cable Project connecting Port Blair and 7 other Islands started, the foundation of which was laid by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to these Islands in December 2018. This historic project, which will be completed by June 2020, will increase speed of data and other public services being provided through digital mode. The bandwidth augmentation will be almost 60 times of the present bandwidth and will indeed give a boost to the economic activities, besides bringing transparency in the public services delivery and also improve skill development. Within two months’ time, the Satellite bandwidth will be increased from 3.6 to 4.5 Gbps which will be a major step towards ‘Digital India’, the Lt. Governor added.

The Lt. Governor said that the first Ship to Ship (STS) Transshipment hub in India at Port Meadow, A&N Islands will commence its operations soon as an agreement in this regard has been executed on Jan 7, 2020 which will be profitable from the first year itself. The agreement has been signed between the Port Management Board with MATSYA Shipping and Ports Private Limited, Kolkata (an Indo-German Joint venture company) and once the operations starts, about 40lakh MT of cargo is expected to be transshipped every year. Port Meadow provides an all weather ideal location for off shore STS operations and it lies at an advantageous location to attract cargo emanating from Australia, New Zealand & South East Asia and bound for Ports of East Coast of India, West coast of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The revenue generation through STS operations at Port Meadow, A&N Islands is expected to further increase to 20-40 crores per annum in times to come.

The Lt Governor said these Islands despite geographical challenges are marching forward on the path of progress by way of developing various projects to become a ‘New Andamans’.

The Lt. Governor further said that under the agenda of the Island Development Agency and with the support of the NITI Aayog, four big Eco-Tourism projects will be developed on PPP mode for which RFQ application has been invited by Jan. 31, 2020. Under these eco-tourism projects, 60 percent jobs will be made available to the local youth of these Islands.

The Lt. Governor said a Joint Task Force has been constituted to give boost for bringing construction materials from ASEAN Countries. This, the Lt. Governor said will not only bring down the cost of living but accelerate economic development through tourism and business.

The Lt. Governor said that the work to make NH-4 a double lane and the work of the two bridges at Humphrey and Middle Strait are also underway. These projects will reduce the travel time from Diglipur to Port Blair significantly. The execution of these projects is a major effort of the Administration towards infrastructure development in Isles.

The Lt. Governor informed about the 6th IDA meeting chaired by the Union Home Minister on Jan 13 in which important decisions were taken on the upcoming projects which will have far reaching impact.

The Lt. Governor said for regional connectivity under ‘UDAN Scheme’, the Civil Aviation Ministry has started bidding process for four routes. Facility of sea planes will be made available in these Islands for which the Airport Authority of India is developing water aerodromes for its smooth operations.

He said, Consultant has been appointed for the development of two Green Field Airports, one at Port Blair and the other at Campbell Bay. The project report will be submitted by the Consultant within two months. The new airport terminal complex at Port Blair will be completed this year itself. There is also a proposal to upgrade the fleet strength of Pawan Hans Helicopters with new increased passenger capacity helicopters, the Lt Governor said.

The Lt. Governor further informed about the proposed Modern Container Transshipment Port to be set up at South Bay in Great Nicobar Island which will not only contribute towards the socio-economic development of these Islands but also towards the economic growth of the country. The A&N Administration has invited Expression of Interest for the establishment of the Container Transshipment Port under PPP Mode and the process for selecting developers is underway.

The Lt. Governor said that for power generation, the Administration is focusing more on renewable and clean energy power plants and moving towards de-dieselization. The Administration has plans for de-dieselization from current 9% to 93% within three years time for which different energy efficiency projects have been undertaken.

The Lt. Governor mentioned that the Administration is instrumental in executing various transformational projects for these Islands through IDA by which ‘New Andamans’ can actively contribute towards fulfilling the vision of ‘New India’. 

The Lt. Governor also thanked the Vice President for inaugurating and laying foundation stones for different transformational projects for the benefit of the people of these Islands.

The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Chetan. B. Sanghi, Adhyaksh ZPSA, Shri Subir Chander, Councillors of the PBMC, senior officers of the A&N Administration, leaders and workers of different political parties and general public in large number attended the function.

In his address, the Chairperson PBMC, Shri N.K Udhaya Kumar welcomed the Vice President to these emerald Islands on behalf of the Islanders. He informed that the Port Blair Municipal Council has the prime responsibility of providing drinking water, sanitation and solid waste management besides wide range of urban development activities for the betterment of the city dwellers.

The Chairperson stated that it’s a matter of pride that Port Blair has gained place in Smart City Mission under which the PBMC has taken up projects like Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), construction of Working Women Hostels, Heritage Walk, Neighborhood Parks and Marine Esplanade under Smart City Mission. He also presented a memento to the Vice President on the occasion. 

The programme concluded with the word of thanks proposed by the Senior Vice Chairperson PBMC, Smt. Rubana Aziz.

  • Written by Denis Giles
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