Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a tourist destination?

Logically thinking some of the points are as follows -
 
1) Why would somebody come to Andaman for a vacation when the air fare is exorbitantly high?
As on 30th Jan 2010 , the airfare from Chennai to Port Blair was approximately Rs.20,755/- economy class Kingfisher red , while return fare on 1st Feb 2010 was Rs.17,233/-.
 
When one can go for an international vacation at a much cheaper cost why spend that kind of money only on travel within India! 
 
For example currently Ezeego is giving amazing offers on Dubai shopping festival. Ex Mumbai return economy class air fare , accommodation for 3 nights with breakfast and guided city tour and all this is for a price of Rs.16,299/-.
 
Another interesting offer in Jan 2010 from TTF is a 4 day /3 nights Thailand – Bangkok & Pattaya for only Rs.19990/-. This includes Return airfare from Bangalore, airport taxes, airport transfers, 3 star hotel accommodation, all 3 meals and sightseeing. 
 
Frankly speaking, any Indian would prefer to get a stamp on his passport by going overseas at that cost with his family than spend more on an Indian vacation!
 
2) Secondly why does A&N not actively participate in the annual Trade and Travel Fair if it’s serious about promoting tourism?
 
The TTF was held on 15th, 16th & 17th Jan 2010 in Bangalore. There were stalls from various states in India as well as overseas .The participants were from J&K, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Ladakh, Nepal, Turkey, Hong Kong, South America etc. Unfortunately A&N did not feature anywhere. Aitken Spencer Hotels (a private concern) had a stall promoting its hotels / resorts in South India. One of the standees in that stall had publicity for Barefoot at Havelock. That was about all I saw on Andaman in the entire Fair!
 
I personally think it’s high time the Government of A&N should put on their thinking caps and take some drastic steps before it’s too late.
 
3) They should focus on not only how to attract tourism but also how to ensure that people keep coming back for more each season.  
 
For example people in Delhi keep going to Shimla every summer for their vacation and people in South go to Ooty. Goa is still an all time favorite. Similarly A&N should encourage people to return frequently and not just make it a “onetime” holiday destination.
 
Let’s strive in making Andaman & Nicobar Islands a well know and sort after holiday destination year after year!

Sir,

This has a ref to the article published in your daily on Sri Lankan settlers in Katchal Island. Please let me know what is the outcome, and the administration’s stand towards this issue.

These people are not to be neglected the matter has to be kept on track. No politicians have taken interest and I am sure during elections lots of promises would have been made. They should be relocated like the other settler community.

This need to be done on priority basis.

Shibu Varghese
Prothrapur


Dear Sir

Reference your article: Celebrity Resort Threatens Isolated Tribe, I think you may wish to take the following into account

I have stayed at the resort in question, and can say with conviction that the article is based on some obious falsehoods. The resort is more than 3 kilometers away from the tribal reserve (and not 500m as Survival sensationally suggests) and there is no interaction at all between resort guests and the Jarawa, and in fact the resort stresses repeatedly that any guest who attempts to contact the Jarawa will be evicted and reported to the police.

The location is stunningly beautiful, with an amazing beach and gorgeous sunsets across the water, with good snorkeling opportunities
There is no question of any Jarawa hunting path in the vicinity.

I have brought this article to the notice of Barefoot who have advised that they shall be posting a response to this article (to Survival Internation) on their website as well

Regards
Paul Markham


What nonsense is this! The entire area opposite to Carbyn’s Cove beach (quarry belt) has destroyed the flora and fauna. The dump yard of municipal department is always burning and emitting methane and other toxic gas, which is very harmful. The matter regarding crushers /quarry has destroyed the entire flora and fauna of around 4 sqkms. from Carbyn’s Cove area to Brookshabad
 
There are nine crushing plants in a cluster at Prothrapore, to which the ‘Pollution Control Board’ headed by PCCF has given an NOC. This shows the corruption involved by the so called protectors of these islands. 
 
The people have lost faith in them. These are all gimmicks. A public institution in Protharpore which falls within 500mtrs from these crushers is dist Jail. It has made things so difficult for the residents to survive and the land available for agriculture has become such that no crop can be grown on it.
 
These people sit in offices and have meetings but the out come of this meeting is big zero. These people in fact take an aerial survey to asses the damage caused because of their stupid action.
 
The same Lt. Governor had come and promised the villagers that every thing shall be removed /shifted from this place almost 3 years ago but nothing has been done so far.

There is a great deal left unsaid and undone in the city of Port Blair to make it worthy of being called the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This city, which is at the heart of what all visitors term ‘Paradise’, is far from that term. Squalor and filth are to be encountered at every bend in the road while no one seems to mind or even notice. And yet, the magnitude of neglect is becoming hard to ignore.

All along the roads, in every vacant lot, in the waterways and even in the undergrowth one can see all manner of garbage, piling up, spilling over and fouling the city in its unsightly decay. The filth that surrounds every patch of habitation in the Andamans has even leached into the rainforests and the precious coral reefs. Still there remains a certain, inexplicable, apathy towards it, as if the filth were non existent or perhaps someone else’s problem.

The pristine untouched beauty, fabled to the Andamans, is getting harder and harder to find - everywhere one seems to go the litter follows. It exists in the sea, washed onto isolated islands, tangled in the coral; it exists in the forest, among the trees, in the mangroves, along the ATR. 

In the city of Port Blair itself, garbage is to be found everywhere, the most easily found substance on an island where commercialisation is yet to hit!

There seems to have been a well-intentioned ban on plastic bags announced by the local administration in the area, but this ban has neither been honoured, nor regulated or enforced. Grocery shops, vegetable vendors and all other commercial outlets continue to provide plastic carry-bags and consumers continue to demand it.

This is not a letter attempting to point fingers; we are all to blame for this mess. We each need to be conscious of our actions as a community; we cannot blame the administration for not cleaning up our mess. Though the municipal certainly needs to pull up its socks and make a concerted effort in waste management, it is also up to us citizens to keep our surroundings clean. For the sake of pride, if for nothing else!

As residents of Port Blair we need to ensure that we keep our city spotless, we need to be conscious of our actions. It is a matter of great pride when we hear that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are called ‘Mini India’, but what a shame when that term is not meant as a compliment, but to describe how the filth, so familiar in the cities of the mainland, has achieved magnified proportions in this little island city. 

To the public, both visiting and resident, we send out this plea - care for the environment, do not spit in public places, please dispose of things properly in garbage disposal bins, do not throw your rubbish onto the road or in a creek or in the sea! If there is a ban on plastic bags in the Andamans, it has been done so for a reason, honour that ban. Refuse plastic bags, carry cloth bags on your person instead, it is a habit which will take a little while to get used to, but will be, in the long term, beneficial to all. To hoteliers and tour-guides, we urge that you inform tourists about the need for proper waste disposal, do not tolerate littering in any fashion, it will transform the face of our island!

We urge the local administration as well as the citizens of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to take concrete steps to beautify Port Blair and other areas of habitation. This does not just include areas like VIP Road and the Marine Drive, but every area - the battered tin roofs that scar the skyline, the rotting, unpainted homes, the tangled mess of wires and cables, the unplanned construction, the overflowing garbage dumps- our towns in the Andamans are soon beginning to look like the slums in Mainland India!

We all need to move around with our eyes open and make changes to our community, tangible changes, changes that can improve the future of these islands and help us stand proud that we are not only an example to Mainland India, in our ability to stand together in communal harmony, but also an example to our country that we can live in harmony with our environment!

We hope that we can all stand together as a community and make a positive difference.

Mrs. Gagan Ghuman
Secretary,
Defence Wives Welfare Association