Denis Giles, Port Blair: The Member of Parliament, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Shri. Kuldeep Rai Sharma called on the Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Friday (07.09.2023) morning wherein he highlighted many crucial issues related to the Islanders and development of these Islands. The issues discussed are as follows:
1) Pension Increase for Old Age People: The Member of Parliament informed the Lt. Governor that many elderly citizens are struggling due to inflation. Their existing pensions don’t meet their needs, especially with rising costs. In light of their challenges, he appealed for an increase in the old-age pension to Rs. 5000. He said that many elderly people have to pay monthly rent for a room and there are other expenses of treatment, medicines and transport. The current pension amount often falls short of covering their essential needs, leaving them in a state of financial strain.
2) Upgradation of NH4 in Andaman: He pointed out that the condition of NH4 (Andaman Trunk Road) has turned from bad to worse, with many areas turning totally muddy. This road, essential for the locals, is riddled with potholes and unsafe patches. He urged the Lt. Governor to take up the matter with the concerned ministry.
3) Weekly Services of MV Sindhu for Diglipur: The Member of Parliament discussed the potential of MV Sindhu servicing Diglipur Jetty. Given the dire condition of (Andaman Trunk Road) NH4 and the associated risks faced by the general public and patients travelling to and from Port Blair, he requested Lt. Governor to schedule MV Sindhu’s trips to Diglipur Island via Mayabunder Weekly once.
4) Installation of Streetlights: There’s a significant absence of streetlights in several villages across Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which poses risks especially for children and the elderly. The Member of Parliament emphasized the safety concerns and requested the Lt. Governor to arrange installation of Street Lights across affected areas.
5) Need for a Petrol Pump at Kalara Junction: Five panchayats in Diglipur region, Naba Gram, Kali Ghat, Paschim Sagar, Kishori Nagar, and Ramnagar panchayats, despite having a population of approximately 25,000, lack a dedicated petrol pump. This forces residents to travel long distances for refuelling. The Member of Parliament recommended establishing a petrol pump at Kalara Junction, which is strategically located on NH4.
6) Addressing old Tree-Related Risks: Recent adverse weather led to several trees uprooting, causing damage and even fatalities. He requested Lt. Governor to constitute a special committee comprising representatives from the PRI, Forest, Fire Services, Electricity Department, Revenue and APWD. This committee’s primary objective would be to identify and assess old and potentially dangerous trees, taking necessary measures such as pruning or removal to mitigate the risks associated with their presence.
7) Posting of Specialist Doctors at CHC Diglipur: The Member of Parliament raised concerns over the absence of specialist doctors, like gynaecologists and surgeons, at CHC Diglipur. Given the region’s healthcare needs, he requested the Lt. Governor’s intervention in posting these professionals to CHC Diglipur. Diglipur, North Andaman has a large population and often for specialised treatment patients from Diglipur have to come to Port Blair.
8) Veterinary Doctor Vacancies: Currently, there are 18 vacant positions for veterinary doctors in the Animal Husbandry Department. The Member of Parliament emphasized the challenges faced by residents in remote islands due to this and appealed to the Lt. Governor to expedite the recruitment process.
He said that the absence of these doctors is causing significant challenges for the residents of various remote islands. Due to the lack of veterinary doctors, people in the North and Middle Andaman regions are unable to access essential veterinary services for their animals.