Monday, January 30, 2012

ACCI Delegation Meets HM: Demands Investment in Infrastructure


ACCI Delegation Meets HM:
Demands Investment in Infrastructure

By Staff Reporter

The Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry also met the Home Minister, P Chidambaram and submitted a memorandum highlighting various issues faced by the trade industry.
It requested the Home Minister to keep Andaman Trunk road open and develop it as the road provides connectivity to Northern group of Islands. It also requested that to protect the tribals as well as for environmentally sustainable development, Buffer Zone needs to be reduced to 8 mtrs from the existing 5 kms.
On Coastal Regulatory Zone, the representation said that some of the clauses of Island Protection Zone are extremely stringent which includes increasing the No Development Zone from 50 mtrs to as much as 500 mtrs in certain cases. It said that the notification was prepared without considering the objections and inputs from Andaman and Nicobar Administration, let alone discussion with the stake-holders and general public. The Chamber felt that continuation of IPZ would be extremely detrimental to the development of the Islands, especially the tourism sector which is one of the thrust areas of Government of India. The Chamber strongly opposed the IPZ and requested to immediately withdraw/repeal the notification.
The Chamber has also requested for substantial investments in airports, ports, roads, bridges, power, water, public transport especially in shipping by the Governemnt for providing a right platform to the private sector to invest.
ACCI has also demanded to make substantive changes and reforms in the archaic Andaman and Nicobar Islands Land Revenue and Land Reforms Regulation, 1966 in consonance with the present day requirements to provide a right climate for investments. It has also requested to do away with the present sale permission, ownership of land, purchase/sale of flats in buildings.
Highlighting the plight of construction industry, ACCI has demanded to prepare long term policies and put in place to ensure that atleast quarry products and timber from the forest department required for internal consumption are made available in the Islands.
The Chamber has also requested to reconsider the Restricted Area Permit and Work Permit for foreigners, which is presently 30 days, which under current circumstances to promote tourism should be increased to a minimum of 90 days. Further long term RAPs need to be given for foreigners being employed in the Islands in certain areas like Adventure sports, scuba diving and game fishing.
It also requested to improve air connectivity and establish international air connectivity with South East Asia not only for promotion of tourism but to provide relief to the people of the Islands from exorbitant airfare being charged by the airlines. It also suggested to advice the Civil Aviation Ministry to make Route Dispersal Guidelines making it mandatory for all airlines to operate to the Islands.
The representation said that agriculture is not remunerative sector in the Islands and hence, there is a need to allow diversion of land for commercial, industrial and housing projects. It felt that this will accelerate the flow of investments by the private sector. Saying that currently diversion of land is not only restrictive but time consuming, it demanded the Administration to put in place a fast track procedure for allowing diversion of land for bona fide projects that will go a long way in encouraging investment and generating employment.
Andaman Chamber of Commerce has also demanded for establishment of Legislative Assembly/Pradesh Council in order to have a better democratic decision making process.

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