Port Blair, Sept 27: The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr. Keshav Chandra, IAS during his visit to Swaraj Dweepflagged off five e-busses of Transport Department, A&N Administration yesterday. This initiative is an effort of A&N Administration towards environment protection and preservation of Swaraj Dweep’s scenic natural beauty.
The Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Transport), Mr. Nikhil Kumar,IAS, Commissioner-cum-Secretary (APWD/Shipping), Smti Nandini Paliwal, IAS, Secretary (Finance), Mr.C Arvind, Secretary-cum-Director (Transport), Mr.Vishwendra,Deputy Commissioner, South Andaman, Mr. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS,Secretary (APWD), Mr. Kishore Kshirsagar Lakshman, IAS, Secretary (IP&T), Mr. Hari Kallikkat, IAS, PRIs, senior Officers of line Department , students, teachers and general public of Swaraj Dweep were present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Secretary congratulated the Transport Department for launching the e-bus services in Swaraj Dweepin a record time. This initiative stems from the fact, the need to provide tourists visiting Swaraj Dweep a pleasant and memorable stay, the Chief Secretary stated. He said, there have been instances of travel agents fleecing tourists as there is no alternate mode of conveyance and reminded the habitants of the Island that Swaraj Dweep being a tourist destination have visitors from not just the country, but international tourists too, hence it is pertinent to ensure that tourists visiting the Island are provided with basic needs in terms of comfortable mode of transportation, stay, etc.
The Chief Secretary remarked that in the coming days, more tourists and activities will be introduced in Swaraj Dweep, however, we need to be sensitive towards the fragile environment and must do our bit to protect , preserve and conserve it while we simultaneously open our doors for tourism activities. He said, the Administration’s commitment to promote sustainable and responsible tourism in A&N Islands can only be achieved, if the local inhabitants join hands in achieving this vision.
The Chief Secretary also informed the gathering that the pending work for Sea Port terminal will be expedited and it is the endeavor of A&N Administration to provide visitors/tourists with the required facilities/ infrastructure to make their visit to Swaraj Dweep a comfortable one. “Our approach towards tourists and our service towards them speaks volume and we must strive to provide them the best we can so that they inturn can become ambassador of our tourism industry through which more & more tourists would like to visit the Island”, the Chief Secretary said.
The creation of cycling track for those who are fond ofcycling needs to be maintained well and it is the responsibility of general public to ensure their upkeep, said the Chief Secretary. Nature’s beauty in Swaraj Dweep is beyond comparisonand hence, we must strive to protect and preserve it and create a global brand of sustainable tourism, the Chief Secretary remarked urging all the inhabitants of the Island to ensure they continue to be sensitive towards the environment while they go about their livelihood activities.He concluded by assuring the residents of Swaraj Dweep that in the next visit, the issues discussed and its progress will be reviewed.
In his address, the Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Transport), Mr. Nikhil Kumar said, the introduction of e-busses is a step towards the initiative of preserving the ecology of the Island. It will prove to be a boon to the environment, as Govt. is promoting clean & green mode of transport. He also informed about the benefit of e-busses as it has zero tail emissions and it is environmental friendly. The e-busses has AC with 33 seats and will provide service from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm with specific route demarcation i.e. from the Jetty to Kalapathar and Radhanagar. The service will be available every half an hour. This initiative will give a huge fillip to the transport sector in Isles, said the Commissioner. Apart from e- busses, the existing STS bus services will also continue, he said and called upon the habitants of the Islands to make best use of the facility and also to simultaneously protect and preserve the pristine environment of Swaraj Dweep.
Earlier, welcoming the gathering, the Secretary, Transport, Mr.Vishwendra thanked the Chief Secretary for his guidance and support in materializing this initiative of introducing e -busses facility at Swaraj Dweep. He also thanked Secretaries of all Departments for their fervent support. The programme concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Deputy Director (Transport), Mr.B.Binoy.The students of GSSS, Swaraj Dweep presented welcome song on the occasion.