Port Blair, April 11: Reiterating the commitment of Central Government for Development of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the Andaman & Nicobar Islands as “Mini India” a unique example of Unity in Diversity and national integration. Rajnath was on a three-day tour from 6 to 8 April 2017, of Andaman Nicobar islands in which he visited four islands including South Andaman, Car Nicobar, Ross Island, Havelock Island and did an aerial survey of volcanic eruptions at Barren Island.
The Home Minister acknowledged the historical significance and distinguished contribution of the islands in the national freedom struggle. The Home Minister also recollected the contribution of freedom fighter, Veer Savarkar towards the country’s freedom struggle movement. He said that politics should be done with a motto of service to the humanity. “Politics should not be done merely for the formation of Governments but it should be for creating a better society and development of a strong nation”, he said.
The Home Minister laid the foundation stone of 25 MW Solar Power Plant integrated with battery energy storage at Guptapara Village in South Andaman, which is first of its kind in India.
Rajnath Singh said that the projects of solar energy parks of 100 MW have been sanctioned for the islands and all efforts would be made to commission all of them by 2018. As the total installed capacity of power generation in these islands is 109.45 MW of which 99.10 MW is from diesel, he announced that in order to save the beauty and pristine environment of these islands and to produce green and clean as well as comparatively cheaper energy highly polluting diesel generation would be replaced by solar, wind and sea-wave energy.
Home Minister reviewed the progress of all important projects and schemes being implemented in these Islands. On account of the very large distance from the mainland, he particularly held a detailed discussion on the issues, which affect the life of people most, in these remotely located Islands, like transport including shipping and civil aviation, communication, power, tourism and fisheries. The review meeting was attended by Lt Governor Professor Jagdish Mukhi, Member of Parliament Shri Bishnupad Ray and the senior officers of the Union Territory and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In Car Nicobar Island, he visited areas affected by Tsunami of 2004, talked to tribal people of a number of villages and enquired about their well-being and progress of rehabilitation. In one of these villages namely, Malacca, he inaugurated a newly constructed and furnished building of a senior secondary school, which was totally damaged by the tsunami. He laid a wreath at the tsunami memorial built in the memory of those who lost their lives in the devastating catastrophe, visited the picture gallery of the disaster and met the Tribal Council Captains and other Tribal leaders at Malacca. In Mus village, he laid a wreath at the Memorial of Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan and Ex-Member of Parliament, late Bishop Richardson, who is credited for integrating these islands.
Rajnath Singh addressed 3 public meetings including the huge one that was held to accord him the civic reception by Port Blair Municipal Council at ITF ground. He reaffirmed the deep emotional connect with the Central government with the people of the islands and the strong commitment of the Government towards inclusive and all round development of the country with special focus on the outlying regions.
Soon after his arrival, the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh visited the National Memorial, Cellular Jail and paid tributes to the freedom fighters by placing a wreath at the Martyrs' Column. The Home Minister also visited the Veer Savarkar Cell in the Cellular Jail.
The Home Minister also visited the Barren Island, located 137 km northeast of Port Blair, is India’s only active volcano. It was recently in the news when researchers from the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) reported the volcano to be active and spewing lava and smoke. The Union Home Minister also visited the famous Radha Nagar Beach at Havelock Islands. The beach has been rated as the best beach in Asia and seventh best in the world. On his return to Port Blair, Shri Rajnath Singh also met the representatives of the different sections of the civil society.