Monday, September 19, 2011

ATR Convoy Timing Revised: Mixed Response


ATR Convoy Timing Revised
Mixed Response

By Staff Reporter

The Administration has revised the timings of convoy on Andaman Trunk Road from Jirkatang to Middle Strait and vice-versa with effect from 25th September 2011. The convoys has been reduced to four and the permit fee charged for providing police escort by the Police Department has been also waived off . The earlier restriction of next day return of the vehicles from Jirkatang to Middle Strait and vice-versa has been also removed and with the vehicles allowed to return on the same day.
However, the Admn has warned that violation of convoy system and interaction with the tribals on the road will be dealt seriously and action against vehicle owner/driver shall be initiated including impounding of the vehicles under the relevant rules.
The decision has evoked mixed response among the Islanders as well as the industry as it is implied that the number of vehicles in each convoy will increase. "The first convoy is expected to have around 8-10 buses, 60-70 passenger car s and 15 - 20 goods vehicle which when lined up one behind the other, would reach a kilometer in length," writes Debkumar Bhadra on his blog.
"Moreover by letting loose public transport bus, personal cars, tourist cabs, goods vehicles etc all at a time would make the task of looking after the welfare of Jarawa tribes extremely difficult if not impossible. The police and AAJVS staff members who are already finding it hard to control exchange of pleasantries, outside food and unsolicited contact of tourists with Jarawas would be subjected to tremendous stress," he opined.
In his hard hitting blog, Bhadra said, “The authorities ought to appreciate the fact that ATR is not just another road but the life line of the residents of North and Middle Andaman. The ATR facilitates easy movement of peoples, health care facilities, essential commodities, goods and services round the year, without the need to bother about the weather conditions. The ATR is a necessity for the islanders. Since the stakeholders and the public who are going get affected by the revision has not been involved in the thinking process, the decision taken in isolation is bound to attract criticism besides creating unrest and un-necessary dissent among the public.”
“Any attempt to alter the conditions governing flow of traffic across the ATR would have a direct bearing on the life and livelihood of the entire population living in the logistically constrained North and Middle Andamans. It would therefore be just right for the authorities to put the entire matter in public domain,” the blog said.
However, tourism industry has welcomed the move of same day return, but they fear that competition on the road will increase and gradually vehicle hiring charges would be reduced.

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