Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Will Urge Govt to Augment Fund for UT: BP Ray

Will Urge Govt to Augment Fund for UT: Bishnu Pada Ray

By Zubair Ahmed

At the foundation laying function of the Indoor stadium,  Bishnu Pada Ray MP praised the efforts of Mariyam Bibi, Adhyaksha, Zilla Parishad and Lucas Robert, Director, Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs for the achievement of getting the second modern indoor stadium of the Islands in Knappuram.

He also urged that the Islands require cricket and hockey stadiums of international standards.

On the demand for the Andaman College in rural area, the MP said that the proposal to have the college in the rural area is a good idea. About the plan and non-plan fund allocated for the UT, he said that out of Rs 1950 crores, approximately Rs 1076 will be utilized in various sectors and only around Rs 500 crores will be available for developmental works. The fund should be utilized on a priority basis. "Due to the poor condition of rural roads in the last decade, the amount required for maintenance will be around Rs 700 crores and there are many other sectors where fund is required. The review of District Plans are still on," he said.

On the occasion he said that Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as he is the Chairman of Island Development Authority. "I have been pursuing the developmental issues of the Islands with the Prime Minister and will take up the matter of enhancing the plan fund for the UT," he said.

"The UT requires special scheme to overcome this deficit and I am trying hard since last five years to convince the Central Government to augment the plan fund," Bishnu said.

Speaking on the issue of Mediclaim facility for retired government servants and poor Islanders, he said that poor patients are not in a position to afford the costly treatment and have to run around begging for money. "From the time I become the public representative, I have been pursuing this matter, and has come to know that the issue was taken up by the Administration, and even the tendering process had completed. However, the project was shelved for reasons beyond my comprehension," he said. He requested the Administration to give serious thought about the issue.

On the issue of submerged agricultural land of tsunami affected farmers, he said that he had agitated against the Administration and supported the farmers. He blamed the Home Minister in UPA Govt for not accepting the demands of the farmers. He expressed his discontent over lack of an Assembly in the Islands. He further added that the land of the poor farmers were made to surrender. He blamed that Rs 20 crores meant for reconstruction and maintenance of sluice gates and dykes were also not utilized properly.

He also suggested to have Department-wise Advisory Committees in which learned persons, elected members including the Member of Parliament can be members.

Work in Unison to Achieve Overall Development of Isles: LG A K Singh

Foundation Stone Laid for Indoor Stadium
Work in Unison to Achieve Overall Development of Isles: LG A K Singh

By Zubair Ahmed

The Lieutenant Governor A K Singh today laid foundation for a multipurpose indoor stadium with modern amenities at Knappuram village in Wimberly Gunj. The stadium will be constructed at an estimate cost of Rs 4.38 crores. The stadium is an asset for the rural populace of Ferrar Gunj Tehsil.

"I am happy that your demand has been fulfilled as a modern sports facility is coming up in the rural area out of Port Blair. The notion that Port Blair is Andaman and Nicobar Islands need to change," he said. He further added that overall development should touch all areas from Campbell Bay to Diglipur.

"I have taken at least five presentations on the design of the upcoming stadium," he said. "Whatever we do, we need to put our heart into it. Most of the assets created remain unused or under-utilized due to lack of interest in the planning and execution." he added. "I would like the local public including the PRI institutions to supervise the project while construction and ensure that it comes up as per the approved blueprint," he said. "After spending huge amount on such projects, it needs to be ensured that the assets are properly maintained and utilized," LG pointed out.

On sports, he said that the youth of the Islands are highly talented and if better sports facilities are not provided to them, it would be unfair. "Sports can play a major role in the making of good citizens with refined character," he said.

He said that the existing sports culture of the Islands needs to be reviewed by giving adequate attention by putting in place a perfect system. He also highlighted the negativities associated within the sports fraternity in the Islands. "I have already ordered the Secretary Sports to restructure the Islands Sports Council, and bring onboard people associated with sports," he said.

"The Olympic Association and other sports associations are totally defunct without any activities on the ground, which needs to set right," he urged.

Commenting on the issues raised by the Member of Parliament, Lt Governor said that the development of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is only possible if all officers, elected PRI members and Member of Parliament acts in concert in same direction towards progress.

Speaking on the occasion, A K Singh reiterated his commitment towards realizing various projects in the pipeline. In a freewheeling address, the Lieutenant Governor touched various issues and tried to explain the constraints of the Administration.

On the budget of the UT, Lieutenant Governor said that hardly 25% of the amount is actually used for development and he said that everyone is responsible for such state of affairs. "In the Islands, Government is the largest economic facilitator as well as employment generator, but we cannot rely only on the Administration for all our requirements," he said.

"Tsunami was another landmark which changed the psyche of the Islanders, and lots of fund flowed to the Islands, which were spent in a hurry," he said.

On various demands placed by VK Mariyam Bibi, Chairperson, Zilla Parishad, the Lieutenant Governor said that many points needs to be sorted out at lower level instead of expecting the Lieutenant Governor to resolve it. "Many issues like allocation of parking area, streamlining of LPG distribution and Garbage disposal can be sorted out at District level in consultation with Deputy Commissioner and other officers," he said.

"Most of the issues are interpersonal issues which cannot be resolved by just writing petitions and letters and need to be discussed in person. And, this is applicable for everyone including the Secretaries," LG reminded.

On review of preparation of Citizens Charter, LG said that most of the departments are still clueless about it and have prepared bulky dossiers. He said that the Citizen Charter should be small documents with proper guidelines and directions. Based on it, departments have been asked to re-submit it within 15 days.

On the dilapidated state of Children's Park in Wimberly Gunj, the Lieutenant Governor reminded the PRIs to be pro-active in maintaining such assets. He also asked APWD to chalk out a plan to renovate it within a month and hand over it to concerned agency.

On water crisis in Bambooflat area, he said that if the project of Commissariat Nallah Dam had stick to its stipulated timeline, the crisis could have been averted. He also said that Khudirampur Water Project for which foundation stone will be laid in August will bring respite to the people of North Andaman.

"The proposal of a separate Water Division under APWD was also dillydallied for a long time, and now I have asked to go ahead with temporary arrangements on diverted capacity," LG said. He asked Secretary APWD to expedite both the projects by placing it in the list of 100-Day project of NDA Government.

On frequent disruptions in power supply, he said that issues propping due to inclement weather cannot be ruled out, but its the responsibility of the Electricity Department to keep the general public informed about disruptions. He said that he has already ordered an audit of transmission and distribution lines, and directed the authorities to take necessary steps to maintain faulty lines.

On cutting dangerous avenue trees, he asked the public as well as PRIs to keep a tab and inform the authorities to take immediate action.

He reiterated his commitment of commencing the new college from this academic session in a temporary building at Haddo. On the permanent location of Andaman College (ANCOL) in Bambooflat-Wimberly Gunj area, he said that the demand is genuine as it will benefit many rural students who have to travel to Port Blair by taking ferry, the final decision will be taken only after consulting all stakeholders in the LG's Advisory Council Meeting.

The Lieutenant Governor said that the establishment of Medical College will solve the issue of scarcity of specialists in the Islands and better healthcare can be ensured.

On the issue of construction of a bridge between Bambooflat and Chatham, Lieutenant Governor said that the Administration is a bit apprehensive about utilizing plan or non-plan fund for the project as the rough estimate is coming upto Rs 1000 crores, and he said that the Administration will take up the matter with Planning Commission and get it approved and later the matter will be taken up in the meeting of Island Development Authority. Necessary steps will be taken for feasibility study once the project is approved and separate budget is allocated by the Central Government.

On the submerged tsunami farmers issue, LG said that the matter of enhancing the amount of compensation was rejected by Home Ministry, and the matter will be taken up again with the new government at Centre. On construction of dykes and sluice gates, he said that the picture is not clear and it needs to be revisited to get a clear idea what can be done.

Earlier, Lucas Robert, Director, YAS welcomed the gathering and briefed about the indoor stadium project. V K Mariyam Bibi, Chairperson, Zilla Parishad, South Andaman expressed her gratitude to the Administration and also highlighted various burning issues of the area. U N Chaudhary, Directorate of Sports proposed vote of thanks.