Compensation to Tsunami Affected Farmers, ANFPDCL and Issue of Soaring Airfares Discussed

Port Blair, Feb. 28: The PCC President Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma has recently met Shri Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, All India Congress Committee at New Delhi and appraised him of the burning issues related to the AN Islands for his intervention.

Sharma briefed Gandhi on the issue of Compensation In Lieu of Submerged Land being given to the affected farmers. He said that this has brought resentment among the farmers. As a follow up to the decision taken in the 13th IDA Meeting held on 15th June, 2011, the Govt. of India has sanctioned a scheme by which the effected farmers be helped by giving cash compensation to the tune of Rs. 9.39 lakhs per hectare of submerged land. The PCC President said that in Port Blair Tehsil total submerged agriculture land is 266.29 ha while in Ferrargunj and Campbell  Tehsils it is 583.40 ha and 320.96 ha respectively. Submerged house sites/ shop sites in Port Blair Tehsil is 54.74 ha while in Ferrargunj and Campbell Bay Tehsils it is 11.80 ha and 07.43 ha respectively.

Those farmers who have accepted the compensation in lieu of their submerged land have done the same out of compulsion and owing to their bleak economic condition. But there are many farmers who have not taken the compensation as yet. 

He also said that the compensation amount being rendered to the affected cultivators is not commensurate with the loss occurred and for sustenance of their livelihood. He thus requested Rahul Gandhi to consider an increase in the rate of compensation of Rs. 9.39 lakh per hectare to Rs. 18 lakhs per hectare and also allow the victims to retain their lands, since no alternate lands can be given by the Government.

On the matter of ANI Forest and Plantation Development Corporation Ltd, Sharma depicted the pathetic condition of the employees who are suffering for no fault of theirs.

He said that the employees were not even given the benefit of 6th pay commission and are somehow maintaining their families but feel distressed with irregular salaries. Sharma requested for immediate intervention of handing over the management to the A&N Administration, which was already accepted by the Administration in principal and is pending with the respective Ministries. He also requested to consider continuous payment of the salary and wages till such handing over process. 

Detailing about the commendable contribution of Ranchi Community (Chotanagpuri) towards development of the Islands, Sharma requested Rahul Gandhi to intervene in the matter of 4% reservation as special status for Ranchi community. The case has already been recommended by the A&N Administration to Govt of India, he said.

Sharma also briefed Gandhi that Govt of India has considered all such facilities to A&N Islands, which the Govt employees and residents of North East Region are enjoying except the subsidized air journey. He thus requested for considering subsidized airliners for the Islanders, so as to enable them to avail low fare air journeys. Such consideration of Rahul Gandhi will not only ease the populace but also be boost tourism in these islands, which is the only means of livelihood of the local populace in this era of unemployment.

Port Blair, Feb. 13: Smti. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Environment and Forest, GOI referring to the DO letter sent by the President PCC, Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma to the Finance Minister, Shri P Chidambaram has informed that the Ministry has already released a loan amount of Rs. 5.50 Crores to ANIFPDCL out of the total allocated amount of Rs. 11.00 Crores.

Smti Natarajan further informed Sharma that action has been initiated for release of balance amount of Rs. 5.50 Crores to the Corporation. The matter regarding enhancement of budget estimate for the Corporation is also being taken up with the Ministry of Finance, Deptt. of Expenditure to at least Rs 17.00 crores for the year 2013-14 against the present provision of Rs. 11.00 Crores, informed a communication from the Gandhi Bhawan, Port Blair.

“On receipt of the information, Kuldeep stated that this is one of his great achievements and feels a little relief as the employees will at least now get their regular salary and he will be very happy once the problems of the employees of the corporation is permanently solved for which he will go on persuading the matter with the local Administration and at Ministry level”, added the Gandhi Bhawan communication.

Port Blair, Feb. 12: The Delegate Session of the Annual Conference of the Non-Gazetted Government Officers’ Association was held on 10th Feb. 2013 at Kerala Samajam Hall, Port Blair. In his presidential address, Shri SC Biswas, President of the Association recalled the glorious history of the government employees’ movement in these islands under the leadership of late Com. PKS Prasad.

The Delegate Session, at the outset, paid homage to the memory of prominent trade union leaders in the country and former leaders of the Association and other government employees, who passed away during the period since last Conference in February, 2012. Thereafter, Shri D. Ayyappan, General Secretary presented the working report of the Association for the last one year while Shri DS Clement Stephen, Finance Secretary of the Association presented the Audited Accounts. Delegates actively participated in the discussion on the General Secretary’s Report and Audited Accounts which were later on adopted unanimously.

Addressing the Session, Shri M. Krishnan, Secretary General, National Federation of Postal Employees, New Delhi, called upon the government employees in the islands to rally behind the Non-Gazetted Govt. Officers’ Association to conduct more struggles for achieving various demands of the employees in the island. He said that the Non-Gazetted Govt. Officers’ Association is the most powerful weapon for fighting the demands of the employees and asked the employees to strengthen it.  He said that forming category-wise Association will not serve any purpose because such organizations can take up only a few small demands. Such small Associations will prevent the employees from participating in the larger movements of the employees taking place in the country on common demands.

Since the Service Conditions, Pay structure, etc. of all the non-gazetted government employees irrespective of the category are same in these islands, a powerful organization like Non-Gazetted Government Officers’ Association should function among all categories of employees. The formations of such category-wise Associations are encouraged by the government in order to weaken the larger movements of the employees.  He said that it was only due to the relentless struggle by the Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers, New Delhi that the employees are today enjoying various benefits including the Bonus.  

Krishnan further said that it was the Confederation, which had originally mooted the idea of two promotions before the Fifth Central Commission and three promotions before the Sixth Central Pay Commission which were accepted by the government and ACP/MACP Schemes were implemented.  He further said that it was the Confederation which had demanded before the Sixth Central Pay Commission the 6-months’ Maternity Leave and Child Care Leave for women employees.   He assured the Delegate Session of the Conference that he will take up the demands and issues of government employees in the islands with Govt. of India.        

The Annual Conference also honoured the two retiring leaders of the Association Shri PJ Eappen and Shri SC Biswas and recalled their contribution to the government employees’ movement in these islands. Shri TS Sreekumar, Asst. General Secretary informed the Conference about the programmes to be conducted in the next one year in connection with the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Association. 

About 150 delegates and observers from various outstations and Port Blair/South Andaman area, representing thousands of employees, attended the Delegate Session. Shri Sathyapal proposed Vote of Thanks. 

Port Blair, Feb. 7: The National Jute Board (NJB) has been promoting Indian Jute Products and creating awareness among the masses by organizing a series of market promotion activities in various parts of the country with active participation of Jute Entrepreneurs, SHGs (Self Help Groups), NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) engaged in jute diversification activities.

As part of its promotional activities, NJB is organising a “JUTE FAIR” in Port Blair, in collaboration with ANCON at Atul Smriti Samity (Bengali Club) from 11th to 17th February, 2013 (11am to 8pm). The fair will be inaugurated by Shri Anand Prakash, IAS, Chief Secretary, A&N Administration at 6 pm on                                     11th February 2013. The fair will comprise of Display-Cum-Sale of Lifestyle Jute Products.

Jute entrepreneurs from different parts of the country are showcasing their environment-friendly jute consumer products like Handicrafts, Fancy jute bags, Shopping bags, Gift articles, wall hanging, soft luggage, home textiles, fabrics, made-ups etc. 

Air Marshal PK Roy Flags off Aaryan’s Kilimanjaro Expedition


Port Blair, Feb. 8: Eight months ago, seven-year-old Aaryan Balaji alongwith his father Cdr KS Balaji (Indian Navy) and mother Riki, trekked to Everest Base Camp and also climbed Mt Kalapattar (17,900 ft) in Nepal and became the youngest in the world to stand on the majestic Himalayan peak. Now, the Naval family from the Andaman & Nicobar Command is gearing up to scale the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Standing at 5895 mtrs / 19,340 feet on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the world's highest free-standing mountain. Climbing Kilimanjaro doesn’t involve any technical climbing such as fixing ropes or using extreme mountaineering gear, but its high altitude demands climbing with a strategy, caution and very good physical preparation.

In an impressive setting, Air Marshal PK Roy, AVSM VM VSM the Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command, flagged off Aaryan’s Kilimanjaro Expedition today and handed over the traditional ski pole with our tricolour and the flag of the unified tri services Command to the young boy. The C-in-C was proud that Andaman & Nicobar Command is associated with this expedition and wished Aaryan good luck to reach the highest peaks – not only mountains, but in all his endeavors.

The team comprising 7-year old Aaryan and his parents, will depart Delhi on 15th Feb and after a 25 day African adventure of Kilimanjaro climb, wildlife safari and hot air ballooning will return to India by 10th Mar. This attempt will go down the annals of History as the Youngest in the World to have ever climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and would encourage Kids Adventure in a big way.

It is noteworthy that this young boy, studying in Grade II at Mahatma Gandhi International School (Port Blair), has acted in a Tamil movie, 'Aanandhapurathu Veedu', and some ad films. Aaryan is the youngest recipient of Gandhi Seva Medal and has been recently conferred with the Commendation by the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor, Andaman & Nicobar Islands on this 26th Jan.

Port Blair, Feb. 7: Continuing with its crackdown on narcotics smuggling, Police have seized over two kilograms of illicit Ganja on Wednesday and arrested one person under the NDPS Act.

On receipt of information from a courier service that a suspicious parcel had reached Port Blair but the addressee was not collecting it, ASP Chinmoy Biswal constituted a raiding team led by Insp. Jagadiswar Rao SHO Aberdeen, ASI M. A. Rasheed, HC V. Raja, HC Sanjay, PC Rakesh, PC Mohan Kumar, PC M. Raja Rao and PC Chandra Sekhar who kept a close surveillance. When the addressee came and collected his parcel on 06/02/13 evening, he was intercepted and duly searched after serving notice u/s 50 NDPS Act.

About 2.275 kg of illicit ganja was recovered from the parcel in his possession. He was identified as Sanyasi Satra (26) yrs, r/o Guptapara and was immediately arrested. He was produced in Hon’ble Court on today and has been remanded to four days of police custody for further investigation.

Police is keeping strict vigil over smuggling and proliferation of narcotics substance in these Islands. Public is requested to pass on credible information on narcotics substance, illegal sale of liquor, gambling or any illegal activity on the telephone numbers: 233077, 232400, 100 & 9434288546. The informant shall be rewarded and the identity will be kept secret, said the SP South Andaman in a communication.