Port Blair, Dec. 11: Participating in a debate on the floor of the Lok Sabha on 7th Dec. 2012 in the “Zero Hour”, Shri. Bishnu Pada Ray, Member of Parliament demanded that the Andaman Trunk Road should not be closed down for traffic and No Alternate Sea Route be made.

Emphasizing the reason thereon Ray said that the construction of the ATR was started the year 1958. While the work was carried upto 43 Km due to declaration of Jarawa Reserve Area, the same was discontinued during 1975. When the Congress Govt. has come to power again, the work of the ATR commenced again in the year 1998.

He further said that with the inauguration of the ATR, the then existing Sea Route from Baratang was automatically closed down.

During the regime of the Vajpayee Govt. in the year 2004, the ATR was declared as National Highway. In the meantime, during the UPA Govt. period a plain was brought in the name of the Jarawa to destroy Andaman and a proposal was made to close down the road upto 43 km from Port Blair to Baratang with the starting of a Alternate Sea Route from Port Blair to Baratang.

Ray lamented that in consequence of the proposed closure of the ATR, Tourism sector will be badly affected. About 2-2.5 lakhs Tourists travel from Port Blair to Baratang annually through the ATR and there are more than 2, 700 vehicle which ply on the route with Tourists. In the North & Middle Andaman District under the Tourism Sector, huge investment are made, where the population is about 2 – 2.5 lakh who mostly depend on Tourism.

A majority of population of the unemployed youths are presently engaged in Tourism will become unemployed again and there are possibilities of creation of “Maoists’ if this step is taken, Ray added.