Andamans diary: From Jarwa violence to increasing accidents in Trunk Road
By Sanjib Kumar Roy | Express News Service | Published: 14th February 2018 02:15 AM |
Jarawa ‘attacks’ in the news
This week, there were news of Jarawa men and women, who frequently come to the Andaman Trunk Road, stopping vehicles with an intention to ‘loot’ passengers. The Trunk Road, which connects Port Blair city with Middle and North Andaman, is considered as the lifeline of Andamans. As Baratang Island of Middle Andaman has limestone caves and mud volcanos, thousands of tourists visit Baratang Island via the Trunk Road daily.
Jarawa men and women are said to have stopping vehicles and reportedly demanding food and clean water from the passengers. In some cases, there are reports that they snatched away chains and purses. The people are now demanding more police guards and deployment of more Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS) staff inside the vehicles that passes through the Jarawa reserve forest stretch of the Andaman Trunk Road.
Recurrence of road accidents
Bus accidents on Andaman Trunk Road are becoming frequent of late. This week, there were also reports of a few accidents on the Trunk Road, the lifeline of Andaman Nicobar Islands. In most of the cases, locals and commuters blame rash driving for these mishaps.
But vehicle owners beg to differ. Apparently, the pathetic condition of the Trunk Road makes things so difficult for drivers that they end up in mishaps. Passengers blame speeding by bus drivers as the main culprit for these accidents. Not the bus owners. They claim that pathetic condition of the Trunk Road causes so many damages to these buses that their heavy vehicles often suffer serious breakdown which leads to accidents.
Less government ferries: Expensive trips for tourists
Although tourist season in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is coming to an end, tourists are still arriving in large numbers almost every day. For almost all the tourists, their first priority is to reach Havelock Island, which is considered as the hub of Andaman tourism.
But a lack of ferries is causing problems for visitors. Due to an inadequate number of government ferries, these tourists are forced to purchase tickets at higher prices from private ferries. This is upsetting the tourists, especially those with a shoestring budget, and their tour plans. Tour operators and visitors are now demanding that at least for Havelock Island during tourist season, the administration should run few extra ferries so that tourists can avail tickets at reasonable rates.
Encroachment is rampant in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with many encroachers brazenly intruding government plots for years. The encroachers have become smarter and bolder. They are now eyeing land in different areas. Surprisingly, these people get support from political leaders. The South Andaman district administration has shown a serious commitment to remove these illegal encroachments. It has conducted several encroachment removal drives, after which a large portion of government land is cleared of illegal occupants and structures. Now, the district administration has send a warning to all the encroachers.
Season of politics
With the election nearing, the political parties in Andaman and Nicobar Islands have become active. Recently, the BJP unit of Andaman conducted a press conference to demand a CBI Inquiry into alleged gold loan misappropriation at Andaman Nicobar State Cooperative Bank. The cooperative bank also held a counter press conference and made a similar demand to clear any doubt about the role of the bank management. Nevertheless, BJP state president Vishal Jolly wrote a letter to the CBI director in New Delhi.
Sanjib Kumar Roy
Our correspondent in Andaman and Nicobar Islands