Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu and his spouse Smti. Usha Naidu during a visit to A&N Islands were extended a very warm welcome by Admiral D K Joshi, Hon’ble Lt Governor, A&N Islands and Vice-Chairman, Islands Development Agency and Smt. Chitra Joshi, Hon’ble First Lady of the Islands at Raj Niwas on 16.01.2020. Mementos were exchanged.
VISIT TO FLAG POINT
The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu visited the historic location at South Point here. In a Face book Post, Shri Naidu wrote.
“Visited the historic location at South Point in Port Blair where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the Tricolor on 30th December 1943 for the first time and declared the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the first Indian Territory to be freed from British Raj.
I am delighted that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had commemorated the 75th year of the first hoisting of the Tricolour on the Indian soil by Netaji and had unfurled the Tricolour on a 150-feet high Flag mast.
I appreciate the UT Administration for developing a beautiful Sea Promenade, which has a wall depicting ‘Jai Hind’, granite pillars paying tributes to unknown soldiers and depicting ‘Jai Hind!’ in 14 Indian languages, a wall depicting its history and a huge depiction of the year ‘1943’. I am happy that the project was undertaken under the Smart City mission. I also compliment the Port Blair Municipal Council for having facilitated its completion in a record time of 45 days.”
10 HIGH QUALITY AC BUSES FLAGGED OFF
Port Blair, Jan 17: The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu flagged off 10 Air Conditioned buses for the benefit of the city dwellers. The newly flagged off 21-seater high quality Air Conditioned buses have been procured by the Transport Department, A&N Administration, to increase the comfort and ambience of public transport buses for the people of these Islands.
With this service, the commuters get an upgraded public transport at a reasonable fare. These buses are equipped with GPS based vehicle tracking, passenger information system, which announces and displays all the stations from the inside panel. Moreover, these buses have security cameras and panic button inside the saloon for the safety of passengers.
THE VICE PRESIDENT VISITED THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL CELLULAR JAIL AND LAID A WREATH AT THE MARTYR’S COLUMN THERE
He also visited the Veer Savarkar Cell and Central Tower of the Cellular Jail. This was followed by a visit to the Gallery, depicting old photographs of Andamans. The Vice President also visited Photo Gallery & Exhibition Gallery, where he witnessed the photographs of the freedom fighters.
In the visitor’s book, the Vice President wrote “M. Venkaiah Naidu visited Cellular Jail along with children and grand children. The History is preserved here and it is worth visiting for every Indian child (Youth). You get so much inspiration. Well maintained and need to preserve it for future”.
Thereafter, the Vice President witnessed the Sound & Light show in the Cellular Jail and also visited the Veer Savarkar Park adjacent to the Cellular Jail.
NATURE PARK AND INTERPRETATION CENTRE INAUGURATED
Port Blair, Jan 17: The Vice-President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre (NPIC) at Haddo. He was accompanied by Admiral D K Joshi, Lt. Governor, A&N Islands and Vice Chairman, Islands Development Agency. The Vice President unveiled a plaque to inaugurate the NPIC. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Chetan B. Sanghi, DGP, Shri Dependra Pathak, PCCF (E&F), Shri Tarun Coomar, PCCF (WL) Shri D M Shukla and other senior officers of the Administration were present on the occasion.
The Vice President visited the Butterfly Conservatory and released some butterflies in the Conservatory. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have around 300 species of butterflies, out of which 207 are endemic to the region. Water bodies with inter-connecting channels have been added in the conservatory to provide the much required moist and airy micro climate for the butterflies to thrive.
Shri Naidu also visited the Orchids and Ferns House in the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre, which showcases the habitat of the tropical orchids. So far about 140 species of orchids and an equal number of ferns have been reported from the Andaman Islands. They include tree-ferns, whose origin can be traced back to the Jurassic era. Vanilla, used in confectionaries is also sourced from an orchid species found in these Islands. The Vice President also planted a Rudraaksh sapling there.
At the Nature Park, the Vice President also appreciated a wooden sculpture of a mother and child, made out of the trunk of a single Andaman Padauk tree. The sculpture represents nature as a mother, who lovingly nurtures all her creation. A tribal woman has been depicted as the mother, as a mark of deep respect to the tribal people of Andaman, who are revered as the protectors of the Islands.
The Vice President also visited the Tree Top Cafeteria, where he was briefed about the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre and its objective by the PCCF (WL).
CIVIC RECEPTION AT AMBEDKAR AUDITORIUM
Port Blair, Jan 22: The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu on Jan 17, 2020 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 trans-shipped 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.
VISITED RAMAKRISHNA MISSION
The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu visited the Ramakrishna Mission at Port Blair on Jan 18, 2020. He also visited the library of the Mission in the same premises.