On October 5, 2017, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari inaugurated an alternate sea route to Baratang Island in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. They also laid the foundation stone for extension of dry dock in Port Blair, extension of wharf in Hope Town and construction of an additional jetty along with extension of Berthing Jetty in Neil Island.
Utility of Sea Route to Baratang and upcoming Shipping Projects:
The new sea route to Baratang, which passes through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve will provide an alternative to the National Highways-4 route that linked Baratang to Port Blair. It will thereby promote tourism without disturbing the tribal areas.
- The extension of Dry Dock –II at Port Blair, which is expected to be completed by September 2019, will help augment the available ship building and ship repair facilities. With this development, repairing ships will now be possible in Andaman & Nicobar Island itself rather than sending them to foreign places for repair.
- Extension of wharf in Hope Town, which is expected to be completed by February 2018, will allow berthing of bigger vessels than is currently possible. It is to be noted that this wharf is being used for movement of petroleum products, and berthing of bigger vessels will thus increase the availability of products and bring down logistics cost.
- Construction of additional approach jetty and extension of existing jetty at Neil Island, which is expected to be completed by March 2018, would help in accommodating more than one ship, which was not possible earlier. This will enable abundant supply of vegetables and other cargo to and from the island, which would fasten economic development of the area by promoting tourism.
Quick Facts about Andaman & Nicobar Islands:
- Capital – Port Blair
- Lieutenant Governor – Devendra Kumar Joshi