By Zubair Ahmed
There are hundreds of two-wheelers and four wheelers used by locals as well as tourists, apart from speed boats and jet-skis. The resorts rely on gensets for their power requirements. Daily consumption of fuel - Diesel and Petrol - is approximately 2200 ltrs.
doesn't have a petrol pump, but all the fuel requirements are met, apparently
through illegal channels. There are three fuel bunks licensed to sell 300 ltrs
each. But, the required quantity of fuel is much higher and always available,
but for a premium. How the bunks get their fuel from Port Blair is another uncomfortable
"MV Malar, a DSS cargo vessel brings fuel for the Electricity Dept run power house, and no other cargo ships come to
said a resort owner. Large quantity of fuel - the dangerous cargo - is
transported in fishing Dinghies, and it operates right under the nose of the
"There is no way but to overlook this illegal and dangerous activity," said a police officer on anonymity. "Maybe after a disaster, we might think about it," he added.
'The Administration is in the process of starting a petrol pump at
said P Vishwakannan, Director, Tourism. "The land has been identified and ANIIDCO
is looking for a consultant now, to complete all licensing formalities,"
he added. Havelock
It might take another year or two for the petrol pump to come up, and till then the Administration might turn blind towards this necessary evil.
No cargo ships transport vehicles to
but one can see hundreds of vehicles on road. When asked how the vehicles are
transported, Ajay Gharami, a resort owner said, "Everything from car to
bike to eatables, are transported on Dinghies from Port Blair." Havelock
"Most of them are motorized country boats, which carries the cargo to
and I cannot comment on their legalities," said Veeraiah, Deputy Director,
When asked whether the Dinghies comply with the safety guidelines or they come under any Act, he said that they are registered as fishing dinghies by Fisheries Dept.
"Its illegal and the Dinghies with fishing license are not supposed to carry cargo, and if they do, their licenses can be cancelled," said Chandrashekhar, Director, Fisheries Dept. When asked about the issue in
he said, "The ferries are not taking cargo, and people are forced to use
the Dinghies, but I have issued directions to check violations of the license
provision," he added. Havelock
Speaking to Andaman Chronicle, Cdr V K Trivedi, Harbour Master said that he is not aware if any DSS cargo vessels are plying between
and Port Blair. When it was pointed out that the Dinghies load goods even from
Phoenix Bay Jetty and Junglighat Jetty, he said that he will look into it. Havelock
"Why can't the Directorate of Shipping Services ply one cargo vessel to
daily?" Samit Sawhny, Barefoot
Holidays asks. "The Dinghies if stopped without alternative will be
disastrous, as life will come to standstill in the Havelock Island,"
"DSS vessels are taking cargo, and if those who want to avail the service needs to make the booking two-days in advance so that we can also make proper arrangements, but we don't know why people are reluctant to avail the service," replied Veeraiah, Deputy Director, Shipping. "In fact we had informed a delegation from
about the arrangement," he added. Havelock
"We cannot rely on a chartered cargo vessels, which takes its own time to sail, and most of the perishable food items by the time it reaches
goes waste," said another
resort owner. "Moreover, there are practical difficulties as most of the
DSS ships leave early in the morning, and we cannot load the cargo in the
evening due to its perishable nature," he added. Havelock
Earlier, there were boats like M.V.Ramanujam , vessel of choice of the tourists and the local people alike for its cheaper tickets and openness. For the local people, it was cheaper and could carry all kinds of cargo like basketsful of crabs, fowls; goats, vegetables and tonnes of banana.
With the recent boat tragedy, the focus of the Administration has turned towards safety on sea, but if such blatant abuse of laws are being allowed due to complacency or lack of alternatives, its high time, the goal post is shifted.
should be a classic example of how
tourism is facilitated and allowed to run. Havelock