Various issues pertaining to functioning of Panchayats discussed threadbare

Port Blair, Dec 11: “Panchayati Raj Institutions are the backbone of the Islands and the roots of democracy. Hence, it is imperative that we strengthen them and also improve their functioning so that they contribute to the economic development and prosperity of these Islands”, said Lt Gen (Retd) A K Singh, the Lt Governor, A & N Islands while addressing the members of the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institution of North and Middle Andaman at a meeting held in the conference hall of the Megapode Resort here today.

The meeting on ‘rural development and Panchayati Raj programmes’, was the first of its kind to be held in these Islands. It was also the first in a series of consultations with PRI representatives, and a key aspect of the development and devolution strategy as envisioned by the Lt Governor in his Independence Day speech.

The Lt. Governor further said that all out effort will be made to further strengthen and uplift the Panchayati Raj system in these Islands so that its fruits of development reach the rural poor. “Efforts will have to be made to redress the shortcomings in the functioning of the Panchayati Raj System”, the Lt. Governor added.

At the outset, the Secretary RD/Panchayat, Shri N.K. Sharma, welcomed the Lt Governor and all invitees to the meeting. He made a power point presentation about the functioning of PRIs and the schemes being executed by PRIs of N&M Andaman.

Critical issues affecting the PRIs such as devolution of powers, allocation of funds, avoiding the duplication of work, strengthening of Engineering Wing of ZP, N&M and filling of vacant posts in all three-tiers on priority, were taken up for discussion.

Giving his observations on the issue, the Lt. Governor asked the Chief Secretary to constitute separate committees, comprising of Secretaries and representatives of PRIs, to study each of the issues and come up with practical solutions in a time bound manner. 

The Lt. Governor also urged the PRIs to resolve the audit issues on priority to avoid adverse audit paras subsequently.

The Lt. Governor directed all PRI functionaries to maintain display boards, giving clear information about the developmental works underway. “Transparency and propriety must be maintained at all costs”, the Lt. Governor said.

In order to increase efficiency of the PRI functionaries, the Lt. Governor directed that four training programmes will be organised for PRI members and two programmes for the newly inducted Panchayat Secretaries every year.


The Adhyaksh, Zilla Parishad, N&M Andaman, Shri K. Srinivasan, Up-Adhyaksh, Shri Sony Thomas, other PRI members from North & Middle Andaman District actively participated in the discussions giving valuable suggestions. The Adhyaksh thanked the Lt. Governor for taking this very important step which will help and motivate the PRIs further. The Chief Secretary, Shri Anand Prakash and senior officers of the Administration were also present.  

While Expressing His Sympathy To The Bereaved, LG Warns of Consequences If Law & Order Is Disrupted

Port Blair, Dec. 10: The death of Punyawathi, 35, a fisher lady on 3rd Dec. 2013 at GB Pant Hospital, Port Blair created a fury among the fishermen community of Andamans. Aggrieved by the death of the community member after a surgery for Appendix, the fishers unable to decide, took law in their hands and tried to damage the govt. property. Later on 4th Dec. 2013 a huge gathering of fishers organised a protest in front of the Directorate of Health Services, A&N Administration and near the Secretariat, demanding compensation of Rs. 5 Lakhs, Job for the daughter of the deceased and a well documented PME by a medical board including doctors from INHS Dhanwantri.

While the Administration had considered addressing the issue, the Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Lt. Gen. (Retd) AK Singh who was out of station had condoled the sad demise of Punyawathi and ordered an inquiry into the matter by Shri P. Jawahar, Deputy Commissioner (SA) to ascertain any lapse or lapses on the part of the Authorities, including the doctors and in case, there has been any lapse, appropriate action to be taken.

In this regard, the Hon’ble Lt. Governor today personally met the bereaved family of the deceased at Raj Niwas, Port Blair and expressed his sympathy on the untoward incident that took place. After having heard their sorrow, the Lt. Governor on companionate grounds offered an Ex-gratia relief of Rs. 1 Lakh to the daughter of the deceased, Miss. V. Swathi, a student of Class XII in Govt. SSS Haddo (Telugu). The amount will be fixed deposited in her name, as was agreed by the other family members. Late Punyawathi, W/o Joga Rao has three daughters out of which two are married. The eldest daughter Smti. Kumari took the responsibility to look after her sister Swathi till the time she is independent.

The LG also assured that the Administration will look after the schooling of Swathi and once she completes her education, she will be offered a post of DRM. The Lt. Governor further assured that the Administration will also prepare her further to get a permanent job in the Administration but at the same time, he made it clear and loud that there is no provision under the Administration to provide employment in such cases. The present case in which a post of DRM is offered is purely on sympathetic grounds.


Meanwhile, Lt. Governor AK Singh had interacted with the leaders of the fishers, who had come to Raj Niwas and told them that the enquiry report on the issue and PME has been received. The Administration will be acting on the report received, he said.

While sympathising with the fishermen, the Lt. Governor made it clear that there will be no decision on the basis of ‘agitation’. Such cases are decided on merit basis, he cleared. He also expressed his unhappiness on the incident wherein the aggrieved fishers went to the extent of taking Law in their hands and warned them not to get instigated by miscreants. 

At the same time, hearing from the fishermen that they are being looked down upon by the Health Staff for hailing from the fisher families, the Lt. Governor AK Singh warned the Health Department and instructed that proper counselling be organised for the Doctors and Health Workers. He also issued directions to the Fisheries Department to address the grievances of the Fishermen and said, “The responsibility of the Fisheries department is not only towards the govt. but it also includes welfare of the fishermen”. He called upon the departments to look at such cases with empathy to resolve issues and grievances.

During today’s meeting, apart from the Administration’s officials, Shri B. Hemaraju, Secretary Fishermen Welfare Association, A&N Islands and Smti P. Bharathi, Councillor Ward No. 8 were present. Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, President PCC was also present.

Tender Preparation For Mainland-Island Charter Aircraft In Advanced Stage, Plans Also to Connect Car Nic By Bigger Aircraft 

Port Blair, Dec. 9: A meeting was convened by Lt. Governor Lt Gen (Retd) A. K Singh to review various projects of Civil Aviation department including the most pressing issue of high air fare in the mainland-island sector. A comparative analysis of fares on similar tourist & metro destinations of equal air travel distance was given by the department, which depicted almost similar fare trend throughout the country however very high fares were noticed on few days around Christmas and the New Year.

In this regard, the Lt. Governor has directed the department to keep a watch on the air fares and take necessary steps to ease the prices as soon as possible on those days also. He also asked the Chief Secretary Shri Anand Prakash to take up the matter with the Civil Aviation ministry to request them to fix an upper cap on the airfare specially for travel between Kolkata/Chennai and Port Blair. Lt. Governor also directed MD ANIIDCO to explore possibility of keeping few seats pre-booked exclusively for emergency passengers on the above mentioned routes.

On the occasion the Commissioner-cum-Secretary informed that the tender preparation for mainland-island charter aircraft was in very advanced stage and it should be uploaded within one-two weeks. He also added that it has been planned to run one flight each to Chennai and Kolkata per week from Port Blair initially, which can be increased as per the demand.

The Commissioner-cum-Secretary further informed that the administration’s plan to connect Car Nicobar by bigger aircraft should be successful within a month’s time since necessary follow up has been done with the officials of Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India, Indian Air Force, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Meteorological Department and Airline Allied Service Ltd. at Delhi and they are going to visit these Islands soon for this purpose.


It was also brought in the notice of Lt. Governor that in the matter of foundation stone laying of the new terminal building and start of night landing facility at Port Blair civil aviation department is constantly pursuing the matter with the Airport Authority of India at the apex level and a positive outcome is expected soon on these fronts also. Directions were also issued by the LG to keep the pace of all projects very fast since air connectivity is one of the most important factors of growth & employment in these islands.