Port Blair, July 25: The Island Development Agency (IDA), as part of its vision of “Holistic Development of the Islands” has laid emphasis on promoting tourism & highlighting ‘National Pride’ associated with the A&N Islands (ANI) & their significance in our freedom struggle.

The ANI were the first to be liberated from British rule & Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who landed here at 11.30 on 29 Dec 1943, unfurled the tricolour here on 30 Dec 1943 - for the first time on non-British Indian soil & further ignited passion & imagination in all Indians in their quest for independence.  To commemorate & honour Netaji & his stellar role in our independence movement, Ross Island, was renamed ‘Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep’ (NSCBD) by our Hon’ble PM in Dec 2018, while also inaugurating a grand Flag Point in memory of Netaji unfurling our tri-colour.

The Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC), as part of its efforts to further the vision of our Hon’ble PM & guidance of the IDA under Chairmanship of the Hon’ble HM, with the approval of the Hon’ble RM & the Def Secy, handed over non-deployment parts of NSCBD back to the ANA, on 25 Jul 22 at 8 am.  While these would remain available to ANC in case of need, this would give impetus to tourism & due recognition to the National Icons of our freedom movement, by enabling the ANA to pursue investment & growth with a momentum that only the IDA & Niti Aayog can generate.

The C-in-C, ANC (CINCAN), Lt Gen Ajai Singh, AVSM in a solemn ceremony, presided over the re-siting of the CINCAN Flag adjacent to the Lone Sailor statue at the Northern end of the Island.  He thereafter spoke to all service, ANA & media personnel as well as Islanders present on the occasion.  Covering the history of the islands, the genesis of the thought of handing a major portion back to the ANA after over 55 years of receiving it in 1967, & the impetus this would give to development of tourism at NSCBD, he stressed on his conviction that the ANA, under the able guidance of the Hon’ble LG would be able to pursue in an expeditious manner, many tourism/ development goals that the ANC could not.

He observed, that the date chosen by the ANC was propitious in many ways.  It is the 75th year of our Independence – our Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,  the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji, the INA’s first Commander-in-Chief & we would be witnessing just a little while later, the swearing in of our Hon’ble 15th President & Commander in Chief of our Defence Services, Smt Droupadi Murmu.  The Kargil Vijay Diwas is the next day & the Govt’s ongoing “Har Ghar Jhanda” clarion call sets an apt backdrop to remember & pay homage to Netaji and hence this ANC endeavour.  He thereafter answered questions from the media on a diverse range of subjects.  To a query about welfare of the deer & peacocks, he shared that INS Jarawa & ANA personnel have for been closely coordinating all points to ensure a seamless handing over & we remain available for all required assistance.

The CINCAN thereafter presented a cheque of Rs 21,000/- to Ms Anuradha, a local from Port Blair who had reportedly lost her family in the tsunami & has since then devoted her life to look after the fauna at NSCBD – a fact amply clear to all tourists as they witness the deer & peacocks responding in their daily afternoon meal to her calling them by name.  It was a poignant moment for her too.  The DC South Andamans, Mr Anchipaka then received a key from the CINCAN & Lt Cdr at Arms, Virendra Kumar of INS Jarawa & officer incharge NSCBD, which symbolised a new level of growth the ANC is sure NSCB will soon witness, in keeping with the aspirations of the Islanders.  The get together was concluded by the CINCAN with a vote of thanks & gratitude for all personnel who were part of the team of INS Jarawa which had looked after the NSCB Dweep for the past over 55 years & best wishes to the ANA for taking forward the hopes of the Islanders for this beautiful island which will always retain an important place in our National history & psyche.