Member of Parliament demands to constitute an expert committee for studying and improve water scenario of Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Port Blair, Jan 10: The Member of Parliament of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Shri. Kudleep Rai Sharma has highlighted the problems being faced by the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to scarcity of water during the dry season, infront of the Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, New Delhi.

The said Parliamentary Standing Committee is scheduled to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands on 18th& 19th January 2023.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, the Member of Parliament mentioned that the main source of water in A & N Islands primarily comprises of Rain Water, and A & N Islands are receiving an average annual rainfall of about 3000 mm every year which is way above the average annual rainfall of many other States and UT of Union of India. But, in spite of this the people of A & N Islands and in particular Port Blair and adjoining sub-urban areas have to face a catastrophic situation of water supply during dry spells every year i.e. from January to June.  

He added that at times, the situation becomes so worse that the people are supplied potable water once in three days for only 15 to 20 minutes.

He mentioned that the main reason for this being, dependency on single major water storage sources in most of the habitable island of A & N Islands and in particular Port Blair and adjoining sub-urban areas. 

Moreover, A & N Islands being an area under Seismic Zone – V is susceptible for frequent devastating EarthQuakes and Tsunami and if on any worse case this single dependant major water body/reservoir gets affected then the entire major population of Port Blair and adjoining sub-urban areas will get affected causing a state that there might not be a single drop of water to drink and survive, he added.

He further mentioned that if less rainfall is received during the North-East monsoon (during November-December every year), the reservoirs are not charged up to the optimum level resulting in depleted storage of required quantity of water to be used in dry spells. 

The Member of Parliament added that sometimes the situation gets so degraded that water barges/passenger ships are deployed by Andaman & Nicobar Administration to bring water from other islands to Port Blair to meet the exigency of the water crisis.

Port Blair City in Andaman & Nicobar Islands is emerging as a planned city with global standards. As a futuristic city it has already attracted corporate majors and investors in Mainly Tourism and other potential sectors with an inflow of tourists travelling A & N Islands being about 5 lakhs in the year 2018 and the figure is likely to double up in 5 years to come, he added. 

He said that considering Tourism as the major sector of revenue and employment generation for the people of A & N Islands it has to be recognized on an early date the necessity of providing potable water generated from natural sources (i.e rain water) to the consumers in the city in quality and quantity and if the situation of water crises like this year persists in future also tourism sector is likely to be affected the most causing major losses to the stakeholders in terms of employment and revenue.

The Member of Parliament said that as we cannot always rely on timely rainfall every year concrete engineering solutions to the problem of managing the water crisis has to be worked out especially when no sound contingency plan to cope up with this sort of crises in future is available with Andaman & Nicobar Administration. 

Hence, in the wake to overcome this sort of water crisis various Mid Term and Long Term measures as water supply projects for Port Blair and its adjoining sub-urban areas and rural areas of A & N Islands are proposed, which if taken up would mitigate the water crisis of Andaman & Nicobar Islands in the future years to come. 

Also, as per Flagship programme of Govt. of Union of India under JAL SHAKTI ABHIYAAN & JAL JEEVAN MISSION it is prudent on our part to provide effectively the basic means of living i.e WATER of optimum required quantity to the general public so as to improve their social living condition, the Member of Parliament added.

The Member of Parliament requested the Parliamentary Standing Committee to recommend the Govt. of India to constitute an expert committee for studying water scenario of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and its augmentations to meet the perennial water requirements of the Islands in view of growing population and development of tourism sectors.   

Other than this the Member of Parliament proposed various mid term and long term proposals for Augmenting the Water Supply of Port Blair City and Adjoining Sub-Urban Areas.

Mid Term Proposals for augmenting the water supply are:

1) Creation of Planned Water Management Policy and accountable task force.

2) Augmentation of water supply by construction of Weir Dam at Bimblitan Village, Port Blair.

3) Augmenting the Dead Storage capacity of DhaniKhari Dam by Dredging / Desilting the Dam reservoir bed.

4) Augmenting the Storage capacity of various water sources / bodies in Port Blair Town by Dredging / Desilting the reservoir bed.

5)  Rutland Island Water Supply Scheme (Balance work).

6) One more aspect to be taken into account when a proposal for augmentation of water supply is being envisaged is wastage of water from existing water generation and distribution systems.

Proposals for Augmenting the Water Supply of Rural Areas of Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Mid-Term):

1) Construction of Check dam/ weir in all 37 habitable Islands.

2) Providing Filter water to all 400 villages in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Long Term Proposals for augmenting the water supply are:

1) Augmentation of water supply by constructing/Developing Sweet Water Lake at Sippighat Village, Port Blair.

2)  Augmentation of water supply by executing the Flat Bay project at Port Blair.

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