Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Administrator's Advisory Council Meeting: Bagful of Surprises


Administrator's Advisory Council Meeting
Bagful of Surprises

By Staff Reporter

The first meeting of the Administrator's Advisory Council of Andaman and Nicobar Islands was held under the Chairmanship of the Lt. Governor, Bhopinder Singh on 17th of this month.
The three and half hour meeting had deliberations on many relevant issues pertaining to the development of the Islands. However the skirmish between the MP and the Administration once again came to the fore with the MP demanding a proper seat for him as per the protocol.
On land reforms, once again the MP was confronted by P. Prasad, Adhyaksh, Zilla Parishad, Madhyottar Andaman. When the MP raised the issue of Buffer Zone, Prasad said that the Buffer Zone issue is the contribution of the MP and he had raised the issue in Parliament about the Gora Bacha born in the Jarawa tribe. He also blamed Bishnu for the double talk.
The LG informed the gathering that the issue of Land Reforms is under serious consideration and the amended Regulations will be notified very soon.
Speaking to LOA, TSG Bhaskar, President, ACCI said that there are many shortcomings in the Land Regulation. He specifically mentioned about the limit of the SDM for conversion of land. The Chamber of Commerce had suggested that SDM may convert land upto 4000 sq mtrs and beyond that a committee has to approve with the permission of the Administrator. However, Bhaskar informed that the LG has modified the draft and reduced the authority of SDM to upto 500 sq mtrs, which is ridiculous. On the other hand, he informed that LG has arbitrarily approved conversion of large tracts of land belonging to bigwigs like Taj, Soma, Rose Valley and even in Long Island without the approval of the committee. It's harassment for the local businessmen as well as tourism and hotel industry.
The PRI representatives also demanded that the excess and encroached land of tsunami affected farmers and the Pre-78 encroachers need to be regularised.
Mohammed Shafiq, Pramukh, Panchayat Samiti, Ferrargunj suggested a Four-lane Marine Drive connecting Shore Point, Hathi Tapu, Mithakhari and Minnie Bay through seashore. The Lt Governor and Chief Secretary was impressed by the idea and asked the engineering wing of ALHW to inspect the feasibility without further delay. It is learnt that a team of engineers visited the area on Tuesday.
Kuldeep Rai Sharma, President, ANTCC raised the issue of the revised convoy system in which the convoy pilot bikes ply at a speed of 20 kms creating huge delay as well as inconvenience to the passengers. The Lieutenant Governor informed the committee that the convoy was revised and reduced to convince Supreme Court that the Admn is taking steps to regulate traffic on ATR. He also said that ATR cannot be closed, but the traffic on the road need to be regulated to comply with the Supreme Court Order or it will result in closure of ATR.
Sharma also sought the intervention of the Administration in locating alternate quarry site for Brookshabad as the site cannot provide stones for more than a couple of years. He also said that the hillock is damaged irreversibly due to quarrying, which had played a major role in checking the tsunami waters from destroying Port Blair city. The Lieutenant Governor informed that about 15 quarries have been given NOC from Pollution Control Board to operate and he also informed that the price of quarry products will be stabilized very soon. On the demand of Panchayat Samithis for allotment of quarry, the Lieutenant Governor informed that both Panchayat Samitis of Ferrar Gunj and Prothrapore will be allotted quarries as well as 500 sq mtrs of land close to the quarry site for setting up Crusher Units, which will check pollution.
On water supply, LG informed the gathering that the pipelines will be replaced wherever required. Firdosh Bibi, Chairperson, PBMC demanded the Administration to construct a parking space in front of Directorate of Industries between Bengali Club and Goal Ghar.
The Lt. Governor stated that the Administration is focussing on inclusive growth of the islands so that all the three districts of the islands embark on the development path on equal footing. He felt that "Development of the Islands should not be restricted to Port Blair and its vicinity and additional resources would be provided to the North & Middle Andaman and Nicobar District to bring these districts at par with South Andaman." He also laid emphasis on the need for working together by PRIs, Public representatives and Administration so that the islands can march towards faster development.
Besides deliberating on developmental issues, many other important issues pertaining to the land, shipping, education, health, fisheries, transport and tourism were also discussed. He also assured that monthly or quarterly review meetings will be conducted to evaluate the progress of various projects discussed in the meeting.
Apart from the MP, representatives of political parties, PRIs, Tribal Council and Chamber of Commerce, selected NGOs and Civil Society representatives also participated in the meeting.

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