Gateway of India was created to welcome the emperor of British Empire.
At the entrance of our home, we make RANGOLI to welcome good luck and the guests, god, etc. Thus to highlight the glory of the place, which lies in decorated entrance, we decorate it with grandeur as possible. It gives an everlasting Impression.
Entrance to the Port Blair is via two routes through the sea and the air. That means through the airport and a sea-port.
Any Master plan of Andamans cannot do without these two ports. Airport is to be strategically located. It may be located at Chidyatapu or Wandoor or some other separate Island. If that is not possible then let us develop the existing one without disturbing the Eco fragile environs of the neighborhood.
Some kind of cushion – GREEN cushion is to be erected to stop or to minimize the drift or thrust emancipated by the landing and taking-off of planes. These are of Both types, seen and unseen!!
Airport has to house a “Motel type of thing, where tourists can stay for night. This is particularly needed at Port Blair. Which is, not viable otherwise at Chennai or Dumdum (Kolkatta)?
I mean the infrastructure at Port Blair Airport is not adequate to handle quantum of pax. It has to be seen keeping in the view of opening of Port Blair to more airlines in future. As it is already an International Airport named as Veer Savarkar International Airport. But still International flights don’t touch down here.
Once it becomes operational as an International or as a stopover, then more and more International flights/airlines will fly in as a stopover. Chartered flights will also land.
To station big size planes necessary infrastructure is required, Say a if a 380 lands here?[not possible at present but there is no harm in dreaming or visualizing].
Suppose a plane lands with 100 pax and it remains stationed at Port Blair Airport. Tourists will stay in plane at night and go around the Port Blair during the day time. [will that be possible at Port Blair?] Why not I would say? But I don’t think the situation permits that tourists stay in plane in night, while it is stationed at the hanger or any place allotted to that charted plane to stand on Airport during its stay over period. That time I imagine that if a tourist lounge is constructed then such tourists can stay at Airport too.
With chartered planes will land lots of “human resource”. Thus the capacity of the city ought to be up-to the mark to handle this influx of such floating population. This will increase pressure on service sector. Roads, Market, Vehicles, Eatery, amusements, sports etc.
When I visit Kolkata, Chennai & Delhi the T3, IGI etc I see how huge those Airports are? Built? Siting there inside of these Airports while waiting for arrival of my planes I often see around those huge glass panels, through which lots of light do come in. In media I had read or heard few mishaps also, such as falling of few these glass panels. Risking the life of waiting/siting passengers. Few I saw had double glass panels, One is outside wall and one glass panel is inside wall, and in between is huge space.
At Kolkatta the lift is situated in-between such panels. That much space is available between these two walls of glass. I had to wait for whole one night to catch the early morning flight for Port Blair. So for whole night I had to sleep in any place if available, either on chairs or on floor itself. Many people, we Indian people do sleep on spreading bedsheet that we bring always for such purposes, especially we are traveling with families.
While sitting on reclining steel seats I was awake and always think that why not they make these spaces into some kind of small resting rooms for us passengers. They are big enough to accommodate two persons, I mean a double bed size space is there. Or even a single sized bed is made available to passengers then they will be more than happy.
There are few waiting lounges are available for passengers but they are not adequate or sufficient, Many times in 20 years of my Air Travelling experience I have found not much facility is available for us people. Often few can be accommodated in such places. If you are known to or have any connection with the people who work on airport or in airlines then only you can get. Otherwise, very few people can be accommodated in those places. They were made when very few say 40 or 50 people used to travel in airlines. But authorities have not woken up to the fact that affordability of flights has increased more and more people are now able to fly? In Indian sky.
On any day one can witness the huge crowd that stay at Airport during the night. I am really amazed that why AAI- Airport Authority Of India has kept a blind eye on such crowd. I think they still have that stigma towards common people as British used to have towards third class passengers in those times of railways.
One lady was gracious enough to accommodate us, we three, me, my wife and my 1 year old son at Kolkatta airport by giving us access to the Family dormitory. On that night I think no one was there? Few Air hostesses or few airline female crew came during late night hours, as I could see. We could not actually sleep for most of the night, as my son was weeping crying most ot times, so we took him to the toilet area, that is far from those bedding area. So that other passengers could not get disturbed.
I mean huge space is available inside or near the Airport there they can provide good accommodation to passengers. They can make what is called as capsule-cabin type of hotel. It is new idea to accommodate large numbers of passengers in a small space. Packed to closest space available. Every inch of space is utilized. In normal one story they can accommodate two or three levels with small cabins. There space is available only for resting overnight. That can be prepaid. At the entrance of Airport our tickets are checked, after that passengers are left on to their own till they get boarding passes and enter the area after crossing through security check?
But accommodation we require is just after entering the Airport. That is done by showing valid Air Tickets. Since that time and till we board plane we remain somewhere inside the Airport.
At Port Blair also such capsule cabin hotel can be constructed to accommodate few passengers for overnight to start with!!!
Good ides is to make stacked columns of such cabin, mostly the ship containers, so that maximum utilization can be achieved.
NEXT is the SEA PORT
Is our Airport and the sea port is well connected? What is mode of transport? What about the public transport from Airport to the sea port? If not at present, then after 20 years it will be must.
How many passengers travel from airport to different parts of city after landing and which part is the most frequented?
What is the mode of transport they use?
Whether any PRE-PAID service is available at the PORT- Both Airport and at SeaPort?
I had experience of travelling by Sea Ship also for few years, Till I became eligible to travel by Air as per Government rules. I have very hard and bad experiences. First is if I had to take any ship then I had waste almost whole day to get inside that small gate at walled Hadoo Jetty. Whole road used to be filled with human head. After many hours we could enter that gate. Once inside then we had to secure a place to sit safely and in clean place. I mean there were lot of problems common people experience, and most often authority never imagine. But with time facilities are changing.
Mere having a big passenger waiting hall is not sufficient. The Port itself should be able to provide a small city like atmosphere. Which is possible only, when it have motel or guest accommodation with associated necessities-services for tourists. Port Blair is peculiar. Many passengers come from various islands and far off places to catch a ship bound to Chennai or Kolkatta. They had to come to Port Blair few days prior to day of journey. Now days facility of advance booking of ship tickets is made available, but earlier people used to gather few days before in city to purchase tickets.
Such people from outside of Port Blair had to stay somewhere. If any good small accommodation is available to 300 people then it is very good. Any of services if provided ONLINE so that people need not to come to Port Blair can be stopped.
Many passengers travel to other islands also. For such travels there is another type of jetty/wharf, sea port available. Such passengers if make plan beforehand, then they stay at hotels in Port Blair and take boats on their planned date.
But if passengers immediately after landing at Airport needs to catch Boats? Then?
Whether we have a tube rail between the airport and sea port having other points as well on the route? Like from Garacharma to airport, via dairyfarm, secretariat and Chatam and the sea port or such points as decided by authority.
At Sea Port more entry channels and safe channel are to be developed for entry of ships. This is more important if we imagine any increase in frequency of ships coming to Port Blair either from mainland or inter islands.
Coming to ships, the number of ships has to be increased both for inter islands and mainland sectors.
More Big crafts(ships) are required. Some can be of Amphibian category or like HOVER CRAFT.
These vessels are required for COASTAL surveys/exercises etc done by the COAST GUARD, NAVY and also it must be with the District Administration or local administration. This can be utilized by the scientific fraternity to study the coastal related works either it can be for BIOSHIELD of mangrove etc (MS Swaminathan Foundation had also give few recommendations on making these Islands more close to nature), The Botanical, Zoological, Geological, FISHERIES and Anthropological survey of India and so on [there are so many of surveys of India]. They can use such crafts for studies including the Natural Resource Mapping etc. Then there are Pollution control boards and bodies.
A craft like SAGAR KANYA which can be utilized to study the OCEAN and related studies. The underwater marine life, under water terrains, structures can also be mapped, AND I will dream that one day a ship will roam in ANDAMAN SEA to find the sources of FUEL in the sea bed, like GAS or CRUDE OIL etc.
Sea, surface, underground & Air transport need to be developed simultaneously so as to complement each other.
These are very well a part of master plan and it should not be thought that these are not part of city life. City development depends lot on its surroundings.
If a CITY knows very well about it surroundings then only it can survive better than those who don’t know their neighborhood.
Another futuristic project of my dream is Why not to have a big Sea Cruise liner? Lots of things we hear happening in Mumbai, Goa. They offer weekend cruise.
There can be a Cruise stationed at Hadoo wharf, tourists who come at Airport, after landing straightaway they go this cruise ship to start their sea voyage.
It can be sy a week in any direction Hutbay-Little Andaman, Havelock, Neil, Little Nicobar or Car Nicobar, and Great Nicobar-Indira Point.
There are many National Parks, Biosphere Reserves and Marine parks etc. These cruise liner can travel in sea near to those few of restricted areas such as national parks without touch the coast, showcasing the natural resource or wild life or marine life etc. Without landing any footprints on those islands.
Cruise liner can come from Chennai, Kolkatta etc on a trip to emerald islands. These ships are like floating city. When that millennia happened, that I thought and told to few people that we missed this opportunity to showcase our biodiversity at International arena.
That time Katchal or Kamorta was named as famous island for sunrise of millennium in India. As was kiritbiti Islands? That time sea cruise liner could have utlised that opportunity for international tourism.
Mud Volcanos, Dugong, Barren Islands etc are few potential we can have, Even untouched forest of Great Nicobar Islands can offer opportunity, if opened for nature tourism.
For all or any kind of activity in these islands Port Blair city has to become capable to sustain increasing influx of population.
More state run of PPP mode guest houses, hotels have to be established. PBMC could also take initiative.
Along with movement of tourists, our security forces also need to be alert, strengthened. Wildlife protection force having new technological tools gadgets including communication tools are required.
Once the gates are open to welcome influx of population in garb of tourists, adventure tourism, family reunions, business trips and lots of other purposes, need of hour is to have constant vigil.
But the big question then comes as to whether these islands are capable of sustaining the pressure of this influx. That will be in form of providing the basic amenities to all inhabitants. The prominent being the WATER, food, shelter in that order of preference. The most burning problem of these islands is the availability of the fresh or sweet water.
Though the irony is that these islands are situated in Bay of Bengal surrounded by Deep Ocean but not having sweet water for its inhabitants. The shortage of water has been a perennial problem.
The water reservoirs were built long back. Not much research has been carried out to meet the requirement of water and then how to sustain or utlize RAINWATER. Often called as RAINWATER HARVESTING.
The models and the modes have been found not suitable for the local environs. Once in few buildings the outlet to collect rain water was blown away by stormy winds. And it is a fact that during the major part of the rainy season, islands bear the brunt of high speed storms.
At one place concrete structure was constructed on ground to collect rainwater but it was never put to use.
My idea was that we can use the terrain to construct rainwater harvesting structures. It means the rainwater harvested at one level will be used by the level below to it and so on.
The tanks built should be somewhat above the ground so that it can provide natural thrust or flow to the lower level by gravity.
It should be mandatory for all govt. buildings to have rainwater harvesting structures installed. Schools Govt built accommodations, community halls, market places. The local bodies must make this as habit to develop the rainwater harvesting methods.
All the hotels providing shelter to tourists must have rainwater harvesting system. All the residents having their houses built must be directed by issuing a notification to have rainwater harvesting structures in their houses. And the size must be decided on the basis of the either size of the house/structure or the number of residents.
Waste management, waste disposal is key to success. Thus City Body must have adequate technology driven waste disposal plant. No Untreated waste should go or flow into sea. It pollutes the marine life. Now a days Green concept are becoming famous. Making energy from waste, either bio-waste or human waste too. Chennai corporation utilize bio-waste to generate electricity. Why not it can be done at Port Blair?
Can we have solar cooker in Port Blair? But no, since sunny days are less in Port Blair than in mainland. When I was at Kanpur, we used the solar cooker, and it worked very well for us. It had four black boxes, in them we cooked rice, dal or boil potatoes etc.
Even if every resident try and segregate their own waste material, that can be used for composting. That will save considerable amount of pollution. But people mostly throw their garbage directly into the drains. That results in awkward situation on roads in Port Blair city, as I had seen in Junglighat, during heavy rains. Lots of garbage, plastic packets, bones, legs, pieces of meat etc flow on the road itself, as water gushes throw drains carrying garbage from upper areas of junglighat. Drains also over flows in some areas. What authorities can do? They can just request citizens to not to throw garbage in drains.
Department of Agriculture, Animal husbandry, education, industries, fisheries, health, together with the PRIs etc should make all efforts to sensitize residents.