Protests by the physically handicapped
Perhaps for the first time in Andaman’s history a protest has been staged by physically-handicapped people, in front of Andaman’s Social Welfare Department over various demands. It was spearheaded by a NGO called Sahara, which advocates for the rights of the physically-handicapped. The protest is backed by various political parties and grassroot leaders.
The major demands raised by Sahara are Immediate replacement of the in charge of the V.R.C at Brooksabad; Replacement of Nodal Officer (Disabilities); Independent Commissioner for Persons With Disabilities, With discretionary powers (as per RPwD Act 2016), Separate Handicapped office/Section in the 1st floor of Directorate Social Welfare Building and Supply of modified shoes to orthopedically disabled persons.
Agitation over bumpy highway
The condition of the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) continues to haunt business owners and the general public. The ATR Truck Owners Association has demanded immediate repair of the ATR/NH from Jirkatang to Diglipur and has threatened to launch a protest. In a letter addressed to the Lt. Governor, the association demanded a positive line of action within 10 days, failing which, the association would launch a protest. Over the past years several protests have been organised against the condition of the ATR, which is the lifeline of ‘South Andaman’ and ‘North and Middle Andaman’, but nothing has changed.
Udan scheme in Andaman
In a major initiative to provide affordable air- connectivity in the Inter-Island Sector, the A&N Administration has decided to provide additional incentives to airline operators, under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN to encourage them to introduce flights on the Inter-Island Sector. As per proposed rate a flight from Port Blair to Shibpur (Diglipur) will cost nearly J1,589 while in same sector the fare for helicopter for Islanders is J2,100 and for non-islander is J5,250. Similarly, in Port Blair to Car Nicobar route the fare will be J1,856 and in same sector the helicopter fare is J2800 for Islanders and J6,900 for Non-Islanders. Likewise in Port Blair to Campbell Bay Sector the proposed fare will be J2,645.
Direct flights to Bengaluru launched
With tourist season approaching, two private airlines have announced direct flights from Bengaluru to Port Blair. Indigo and Spice jet will operate direct flights to the island. The flights have not only improved connectivity but have also reduced the fares in this sector to some extent.