PORT BLAIR: With a view to promote tourism and overall development of these Islands, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, modifying its earlier orders had removed 29 inhabited Islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands under the Foreigners (Restricted Area) Order, 1963 from Restricted Area Permit (RAP) Regime till 31.12.2022, subject to certain conditions specified therein.
However, it has also been clarified therein that "separate approvals of the competent authority continue to be required for visiting Reserve Forests, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Tribal Reserves as is the case at present".
Now further bringing clarity in this matter the Andaman and Nicobar Administration has notified several instructions viz the provision regarding issuance of Pass by the Deputy Commissioners of the A&N Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 for entering a Reserved Area in A&N Islands will continue as is the case at present in case of India Nationals.
In case of foreigners visiting A&N Islands and wishing to access the tribal reserve, the Deputy Commissioner (South Andaman) shall refer the application to Principal Secretary (Tribal Welfare) for prior approval of the Administration.
In so far as the entry into National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries is concerned, prior permissions of the Chief Wildlife Warden shall be required under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for investigation or study of wildlife and purpose ancillary or incidental thereto, photography, sanctuary research, tourism and transaction of lawful business with any person residing in the sanctuary, subject to the conditions and payment of fee as provided in the Rules made under the Act aforesaid.
Further, this also been clarified that for entry into the Reserved Forest, the permission of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Port Blair shall be required.
The Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as Andaman Association of Tour Operators (AATO), who have been demanding a relaxation of RAP for foreign tourists since past several years, have already welcomed this move of Government of India.