Islands of Andaman and Nicobar – Still in the Dark Ages

Dark ages are long lost in the pages of history but still the traces of agony and struggles persist which reminds us of the battle and immense effort put in by the people from different walks of life for one noble cause; freeing Mother India from the clutches of forced slavery and British Raj. Though the testimony to these struggles is borne by many places in India, the history has no significance if the most important of the places remain unmentioned that is the Andaman & Nicobar Islands also known as “Kaala Paani” in the days of struggle.

It’s more than 60 years since India achieved independence but these isles are still several years behind as far as questions of economic, social and technological development go. It is still young since its days of struggle and has the potential for change. There’s a need for recognizing it and using it to benefit all and not for one individual alone. Transportation as we know is of vital importance for connecting places for various purposes. Even though we can see the number of vehicles increasing day by day at Port Blair thereby increasing pollution at an alarming rate, the other inter and remote islands seems to be detached almost completely from their capital.

The need for fast navigating facilities can be understood by the fact that patients at a critical state lead their life to jeopardy because of poor facilities in daily conveyance. Introduction of good and cost effective community vehicles as well as shipping services in the isles should not only be consolidated to Port Blair but inter-islands as well.

After transportation, it’s communication. Life at every corner of the world seems to be ambulating fast, and yet we find people standing in front of STD booths for hours together at the islands. Inadequacy of proper communicational facilities will lead the subjected population to a state of helplessness which will end even the slightest possibility of carrying out the mission of overall development in the isles.

As per the need of the body, it requires at least two square meals per day to keep the body resourceful and vibrant to carry out the daily duties efficiently. The mark of India being an agricultural country can be seen here very prominently because most of the inter islands comprise of villages with the main occupation being farming. The truth of lack of good quality food looms even here because due to inadequate supply of proper fertilizers, pesticides and customers the local farmers tend to use cheap quality ingredients that are within their budget. The immediate subject being the population, urban and rural alike, go for the alternative of importing vegetables, food and cash crops from the mainland.

This not only destroys the hope of producing good quality food in these isles itself but also costs every individual a lump sum amount of money to feed their family with a balanced diet. To bring about a green revolution within the isles can be one substitute to reform the age-old practice.

Educational excellence is another lacking abject in these isles though there’s no scarcity of aspiring students and learned teachers. The limiting factor becomes the facilities such as no schooling area in far off rural places making the villagers handicapped and ignorant. Even though the path towards development is not an easy one, lack of proper schooling in isolated areas will surely decelerate the approach towards enlightenment.

Lack of facilities is not just the hindrance towards proper schooling but the villagers seem to concentrate only on introducing their wards into fieldwork where they can become a part of daily survival and contribute their share in the household money. Firstly the mindset has to be reformed then only will there be any kind of development initiation. Being one of the union territories, A & N Islands attracts many people from various parts of country and world as well rightly achieving the status of ‘tourist hotspot’. With magnificent beaches and extraordinary scenarios enveloping these isles, it deserves a little more attention than what is being offered right now.

People coming to these isles should be mesmerized to an extent that they come back asking for more. To achieve this goal certain creative ideas pooled in by the department concerned along with suggestions of islanders can do wonders in promoting tourism in the isles.

Development of various sectors cannot be thought of without proper planning and support of all the residents. To make a mark on the national as well as global level the execution of law and order becomes most significant because life without rules would be led as it is led by animals in a forest.

Though the developmental measure implementation will take time one can always hope for a beautiful output because hard work never goes waste. People say that every drop makes as ocean, so should be the thinking of all of us in the case of amplification of these isles, after all being optimistic and efficient will only help in achieving any kind of success.

Nupur Paul