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VOL: 35 n ISSUE: 12 n FRIDAY n 16 SEPTEMBER 2011 PORT BLAIR n Rs. 5.00 n PAGES 8 n RNI No. 28480/75 POSTAL REGN NO. PBLRNP/08/2008-2010 www.lightofandaman.com

Biometric Cards for Fishermen this Year .................. 2 Ferry Service: Admn Response An Eyewash ......... 3 ATR Convoy Timing Revised: Mixed Response ....... 3 SA Working Plan: A Skewed Document .................. 5 Pauper’s Log: Mehangai Dayan ............................... 5

Remembering Raz

Editorial: Myriad Monsoon Miseries ......................... 6 Forest Dept: Once Upon a Time .................................. 6 Registration of Fishing Vessels Mandatory................ 7


2 |isles|NEWS

THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

Biometric Cards for Fishermen this Year BY STAFF REPORTER

epartment of Fisheries has decided to complete process of enrolment of fishermen for the issue of biometric identity cards in South Andaman district.

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The department has started collection of photos, finger prints and signatures from fishermen in and around the fish landing centres at South Andaman remaining fishermen in other districts will be covered in a phased manner.

The Gram Pradhan, Hope Town Rashida Bibi inaugurated the registration of fishermen for issuance of biometric identity cards in the premises of Panchayat hall, Hope town last week. Finger prints and photo-

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graphs are recorded of the fishermen along with other details like fisherman license, BPL/APL status, EPIC number, Fisheries coop. Society membership numbers etc. She was appreciative of the response from fishermen in the Panchayat area. Biometric identity cards are compulsory to fishermen engaged in deep-sea fishing as part of beefing up coastal security. The identity card is going to be an important document for a fisherman, the officials said, adding that once the scheme was complete, Coast Guard personnel would not allow anyone to fish without the biometric identity card. The scheme for issuing biometric identity cards for fishermen in the A&N Islands has been launched as part of a directive by the Ministry of Home Affairs' to keep vigil along the coasts in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. The Centre provided Rs 72 crore to a consortium led by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore for data gathering and issue of biometric cards. According to latest statistics available with the security establishment, Puducherry has the best performance, with 61.1% of its 37,148 fishermen being issued

cards. Tamil Nadu comes second, with 42.8%. The above mentioned states had started online registration of fishermen in 2010. Joining West Bengal in the list of zero-per cent achievers are Orissa, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies such as the marine police are to be given card readers that can read these biometric cards. As per media reports, the project to issue uniform biometric identity cards to fishermen is reportedly going wrong in states like West Bengal with the panchayats issuing fisherman certificates to non-fishermen and farmers allegedly for vested interests. As a result, thousands of local residents who are not fishermen by profession have applied to the Block administrations and the district fisheries departments for getting biometric ID cards in the hopes of enjoying special benefits entitled for fishermen. The fisher folks are confused of the various cards on offer - first it was the NPR, next came Aadhaar and now Biometric Identity cards for Indian fishers. A local fisherman complained why the government can't have a single card instead of all this duplicity with different names and wastage of money.


3 |city|NEWS

THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

INEFFICIENT FERRY SERVICE:

Admn's Response An Eyewash: Humane Touch BY STAFF REPORTER

ndaman and Nicobar Admn in a communication addressed to Humane Touch has said that there has been manifold increase in passenger as well as vehicular traffic between Bambooflat and Chatham and the Admn is trying all efforts to meet the demands of the public. This is in response to a representation given by Humane Touch to

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the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, highlighting the plight of commuters of ferry service between Chatham and Bambooflat. The Admn’s letter adds that at present 30-32 trips of vehicle ferry and 18-20 passenger ferry vessel trips are being provided between Bambooflat and Chatham in a day and further augmentation of vehicle ferry and ferry vessels at the above sector with the avail-

ATR Convoy Timing Revised

Mixed Response BY STAFF REPORTER

he Administration has revised the timings of convoy on Andaman Trunk Road from Jirkatang to Middle Strait and vice-versa with effect from 25th September 2011. The convoys has been reduced to four and the permit fee charged for providing police escort by the Police Department has been also waived off . The earlier restriction of next day return of the vehicles from Jirkatang to Middle Strait and vice-versa has been also removed and with the vehicles allowed to return on the same day. However, the Admn has warned that violation of convoy system and interaction with the tribals on the road will be dealt seriously and action against vehicle owner/driver shall be initiated including impounding of the vehicles under the relevant rules. The decision has evoked mixed response among the Islanders as well as the industry as it is implied that the number of vehicles in each convoy will increase. "The first convoy is expected to have around 8-10 buses, 60-70 passenger car s and 15 - 20 goods vehicle which when lined up one behind the other, would reach a kilometer in length," writes Debkumar Bhadra on his blog. "Moreover by letting loose public transport bus, personal cars, tourist cabs, goods vehicles etc all at a time would make the task of looking after the welfare of Jarawa tribes extremely difficult if not impossible. The police

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and AAJVS staff members who are already finding it hard to control exchange of pleasantries, outside food and unsolicited contact of tourists with Jarawas would be subjected to tremendous stress," he opined. In his hard hitting blog, Bhadra said, “The authorities ought to appreciate the fact that ATR is not just another road but the life line of the residents of North and Middle Andaman. The ATR facilitates easy movement of peoples, health care facilities, essential commodities, goods and services round the year, without the need to bother about the weather conditions. The ATR is a necessity for the islanders. Since the stakeholders and the public who are going get affected by the revision has not been involved in the thinking process, the decision taken in isolation is bound to attract criticism besides creating unrest and un-necessary dissent among the public.” “Any attempt to alter the conditions governing flow of traffic across the ATR would have a direct bearing on the life and livelihood of the entire population living in the logistically constrained North and Middle Andamans. It would therefore be just right for the authorities to put the entire matter in public domain,” the blog said. However, tourism industry has welcomed the move of same day return, but they fear that competition on the road will increase and gradually vehicle hiring charges would be reduced.

able limited port infrastructure is not possible as these jetties are designed and constructed many years back as per then requirement. Moreover, the operational route of vehicle ferry and passenger ferry between Chatham and Bambooflat is a busy channel and further increase in frequency of passenger ferry/vehicle ferry service will create hindrance to other bigger vessels using the same navigational channel.

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The letter addressing the technical aspects further says that technical problems are inevitable and cannot be avoided. Though in the event of breakdown of vessel,a replacement vessel is immediately pressed into service so that passenger as well as vehicular traffic can be smoothly managed. However, to arrange and mobilize a replacement vessel from Phoenix Bay jetty to Bambooflat, considerable amount of time is required. Proposals have been mooted to increase the infrastructure facilities at both the jetties i.e. Chatham and Bambooflat. These include extension of Bambooflat jetty. On acquisition of such facilities, ferry services between these places are likely to be improved to cater to the increased demand, the communication said. Commenting on the response of the Administration, K P Mohd Younus, President, Humane Touch said that the response is an

eyewash and unconvincing on the issues raised by the Organisation. Administration instead of addressing the issues have expressed their inability and indifferent attitude towards the commuters in this route. He said that Administration is silent about the issue raised by Humane Touch about wastage to public exchequer by purchase of two RO-RO type vehicle ferries, lying idle without serving any purpose.

ATTENTION For advertisements and subscription queries call SHAMIM 9933260431 BASUDEV DASS 9679507141 The Light of Andamans 146-JG Colony, Junglighat, Port Blair - 744103. Email: lightofandamans@gmail.com

Dair-o-Haram ki Rah Milate Chale Gaye Hum Ek Shiwala Banate Chale Gaye Umeed Khizar Se thi Na Rehzan Se Khauf tha Thareeqiyon Mein Sham’a Jalathe Chale Gaye Aise Hi Sarphiron Se Hai Ta’meer Ye Jahan Dar-o-Sulaib Par Bhi Jo Ghate Chale Gaye Maan-e tho thi Zamane Ki Pabandiyaan Magar Naghme Hayat-e-Nau ke Sunathe Chale Gaye Us Waqt kisko thi bhala Sahil hi Fikr Jab Toofan se Rasm-o-Raah Badathe Chale Gaye

Remembering Raz Govinda Raju (Raz Andamani) (1944-2010) The Light of Andamans Family


4 |cover|STORY

Forest Department: THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

16 SEPTEMBER 2011

TRAPPED IN A LABYRINTH Inspite of having a coastline of 2094 kilometres and forest cover of 86%, it is a shame that sand and sawn timber is imported into the Islands from outside - a direct result of the mess that the department had turned the Andaman forest into. Apparently with no way out of the logjam!

BY ZUBAIR AHMED

n the last 128 years of its existence, the operations of forest department have not seen such nepotism and inefficiency that exists today, at all levels. With the Supreme Court order of 2002, the department lost all the powers save those exercised with the approval of the apex court. The sudden and unexpected paradigm shift in objective of the department from extraction forestry to conservation forestry caught them unaware without proper orientation and training. The extractors of forest resources had to turn into protectors overnight. A large chunk of its officers as well as employees could not re-orient themselves as per the requirement of the Apex court and continued with their confused attitude, which resulted in the preparation of an inept working plan which has caused irreversible damage. The Islanders, who always believed that the department would supply them the required timber for their bonafide domestic use is disillusioned today. They are genuine and their demands

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The department as we believe does not supply timber as per local demand. Its purely the by product of conservation that we are getting as timber from the government run saw mills - that too after a long struggle. too. It's very difficult explaining them the nitty-gritty of the Supreme Court Order, which has been used as a scarecrow by the department to hide their deficiencies. Without proper demand assessment, it's very difficult to ascertain the actual requirement of sawn timber for local consumption. There was a huge demand of 16000 cum of sawn timber a couple of years back and the department could only meet about 3000 cum annually. Speaking to LOA, a senior officer on anonymity shared his views about the inept Working Plan, prepared based on cut-andpaste data from previous unverified and fabricated records. The department as we believe does not have the mandate to supply timber as per local demand. Its purely the by product of conservation that we are getting as timber from the government run saw

mills - that too after a long struggle. The laws for extraction are very stringent. The gap between demand and supply has increased manifold. The working plan, based on Natural Profile Analysis (NPA) of the trees is not meant for extraction, but conservation. The demand is for Category I Ornamental wood - Padauk, Chooi, Marble Wood, Satin Wood and Category II superior hardwood - Pema, Black Chuglam, Tingum, Taum Piung and Coco, which is just 35% of the natural composition of the forests in the Islands. More than 50% of the composition is Gurjan, not preferred by the consumers. However, extraction has to be done based on the Natural Profile Analysis to maintain the composition. The NPA is not proportional to demand. The main objective of this exercise is to restore the

indigenous composition. More than 600 indent forms for timber is lying at Chatham mill waiting clearance due to various reasons. There is a stock of 2000 cum of sawn timber stacked in Chatham saw mill, worth Rs 4 crores, waiting emancipation. The reasons are obvious - Nobody wants gurjan, a standard hardwood that too treated at an extra cost, which has no takers. Out of 2000 cum of sawn timber, 700 cum is gurjan, lying at Chatham yard. However, M Raj Kumar, DCF, Chatham Saw Mill told LOA that last year, he could dispose about 1010 applications out of 1361. Raj Kumar told LOA that it's very difficult to identify bonafide buyers from commercial units. With indent, applicants submit land papers (patta). However, it is difficult to identify whether the land documents are misused by the SSI units. "We are still awaiting a software based solution to this problem," said Rajkumar. The problem lies with this identification process too. Why can't

the applicant submit the indent with respective Divisional Forest Officers and ground staffs of the division inspect the site of construction, verify it and forward it to the mill for supply of sawn timber? It can rule out the role of intermediaries and touts permanently stationed at the mill. There are about 109 woodbased SSI units in the Islands, who require wood for commercial purposes too. But, the demand of the Islanders for construction purposes should get priority and preference. Reeling under the pressure of mounting prices of construction materials including locally available timber, sand and quarry products, life in the Islands have become excruciating and unbearable. The Department needs to look into these issues before finalising next working plan for the period of 2013-2023. A realistic and pragmatic working plan will only save the Islands and Islanders and also put stop to the illegal poaching of forest resources.

TOP HEAVY: Generals without Soldiers T

he Chief Secretary, A&N Administration presides over under a dozen IAS officers, the Director General of Police, under half-a-dozen IPS officers. But the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest presides over an army of IFS officers -over 20. He has another PCCF (Wildlife) under him, 5 Chief Conservators of Forests, 4 Conservators of Forests and more than a dozen Deputy Conservators of Forests out of whom 7 are executive DCFs manning divisions outside Port Blair. Rest all the officers are posted in Port Blair. The A&N Forest Department has apparently, turned into a parking bay of IFS officers for the MOEF. Major allocation of the department goes into maintaining the army of officers, their personal staff, fleet of cars and additional transport, amenities and facilities that must match their standard. No commensurate output is visible to the taxpayers. Hardly, a few of the top officers are acquainted with the forest conditions of the Islands. In fact their lack of knowledge reflects in the policies they formulate for the Islands.


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THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

Working Plan for South Andaman

A SKEWED DOCUMENT fter the SC Order of 2002, the first working plan was prepared haphazardly within a year. By 2003, a plan was contrived using available data verified as well as unverified. Senior officials accept that the working plan is flawed in various aspects. The felling series and coupes delineated in the plan contradicted with the ground reality. As per the WP of South Andaman, 30 coupes(area demarcated for extraction of timber) of 260 ha each distributed in three Felling Series were geographically identified and delin-

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eated in South Andaman. Unfortunately, on the ground, there were coupes where the composition contradicted with the working plan due to cut-copypaste. The working in the coupes are purely based on Natural Profile Analysis and not based on demand assessment. The Working Plan clearly mentions that biodiversity considerations rather than the demand or commercial value of the timber is of paramount importance for selection of species for felling. The result is seen on the ground. It is very hard to convince a common

Islander that there is no sufficient timber to fulfill his bona fide requirements as per the WP. However, it is a fact that the general public gets his wood requirement through illegal means. And, certainly, there is a disguised approval too for illegal extraction. Or, why is the compounded penalty just Rs 50/- in such offences, which is not detrimental? The present Working Plan ends in 2013 and new WP is on the anvil. At least, if the department is serious about overcoming its shortcomings, a realistic and pragmatic plan should be prepared.

Govt Saw Mills vs Private Mills VICTIM OF DISCRIMINATION he government owns two saw mills - Chatham and Betapur. Both the mills face severe indifference and discrimination with the onset of private mills, which are showered with favoritism by the top echelons of the department. The Chatham Sawmill that claimed the distinction of being the second largest sawmill of Asia; one that used to export sawn timber to foreign countries apart from Indian mainland, has now been reduced to the status of a suburban enterprise with very little to meet the demand of the islanders, let alone export. Betapur Saw Mill, which remained closed for a long period is now operational, but with very low and insignificant output. Based on the Supreme Court

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Order of 2002, licenses of all private saw mills and wood-based industries were cancelled. After a long legal pursuit, five makeshift units (MSU) were given permission to operate under strict observance of Forest Department. The private MSUs too serve the interests of the general public, but enjoy an edge over the government saw mills. It is learnt from very reliable forest officials that S S Chowdhary, PCCF is the only officer, who is acquainted with and understands Island forests like back of his palm also knows how and where to place subservient officers at strategic ranges. And, they serve his purpose too by diverting high quality and standard logs from their divisions to private mills and deteriorated and sub-standard

timber to government mills. The Apex Court had also mentioned in its order that all timber, bamboo and cane used for construction and requiring treatment in order to extend its durability and life should be treated and the administration should ensure that requisite capacity to treat all such timber is in position within sic months of the order. Gurjan, a fast deteriorating timber needs treatment and the order is fully complied with by government mills. The cost of the treated timber is approximately Rs 4000/- more than untreated timber. Not a single private mill has Sawn Timber Treatment Plants (STTP). And, they are selling untreated gurjan in connivance with the top brass getting an edge over the government mills.

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PAUPER’S LOG

|ABU ARSH

Mehangai Dayan Sakhi Saiyan to khube kamat hai mehangai dayan khaye jaat hai har mahina uchhle petrol deisal ka uchhla hai role Sakkar bhai ke ka bol Roosa baat maati dhaan hamari jaan hai Mehngai dayan khayat jaat hai....... his quirky song from offbeat movie 'Peepli Live' is a funny satirical folk song on rising prices reflecting state of affairs in most of our day to day life. State-run oil companies last week raised the price of petrol by Rs 3.14 per litre, the third substantial increase since January 2011, a move which is expected to stoke inflation and upset household budgets. As per BJP, the Congress-led government has increased petrol prices ten times in just a year. The opposition alleged that UPA-II, under economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has increased the price of petrol by a total of Rs 25 since it took office. According to media reports consumers feel the increase was unjustified and imposed a fresh burden. It is becoming unbearable and how can the common man face such sharp increase. It will add to already high expenses. A day after a Rs 3 a litre rise in the price of petrol, the UPA government was forced by its allies to postpone 16.09.2011 scheduled meeting to discuss capping the sale of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) cylinders. The petroleum ministry has suggested a phased capping of subsidised LPG cylinders, while putting in a mechanism for direct transfer of subsidy to the intended beneficiaries. Under this, consumers will have to buy cylinders above the proposed annual quota of four to six at the market price Who are these consumers affected by the 'unjustified' petrol price hike? Who is this 'common man'? The middle class does not like to pay more for petrol, much as it does not, inexplicably, like to pay more for onions and potatoes. It's not the poor - they cannot afford the basic necessities. It's not the rich - no price rise will affect them. By elimination, it's those caught in between - the middle class. According to an NCAER (National Council of Applied Economic Research) study, which uses 'household income' as the criterion, a family with an annual income between Rs 3.4 lakh to Rs 17 lakh (at 2009-10 price levels) falls in the

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middle class category. The study says, "The middle class that represents only 13.1% of India's population currently owns 49% total number of cars in India, 21% of TVs, 53.2% of computers, 52.9% of ACs, 37.8% of microwaves and 45.7% of credit cards." And it can't stomach a Rs 3 per litre petrol price hike? Most of us islanders down here are not fortunate enough to come close to the above category of middle class nor are we anywhere near to qualify as Below Poverty Line. Guys riding a 4 stroke bike end up paying the same for a litre of petrol as do the billionaire who moves in a chauffer driven limousine. We end up paying more taxes as commodity tax and the affluent savours the sop. Our condition is such that government servant gets various facilities like hikes in DA and a million other facilities for passing their time around at office and the Aam admi is snatched of his basic right to survive. His incomes have not increased over the years but prices have shot up many fold. The islands do have a better overall price rate for fuel but abnormally very high rates for every other essential commodity and very high cost of living compared to anywhere else in India. The need of the hour is strengthening of public transport system at affordable rates for the common commuters. Increased agriculture activities are to be encouraged for growing of staples along with livestock and poultry. Creating improved employment opportunities for the youth and standardization of salaries in all sectors. Ever increasing number of people falling below the middle class category is increasing by the day, check on influx is necessary to optimize utilization of available resources in an ecologically fragile Island economy. Administration on its part has to rally with the Union government that the Islands needs sustainable development on all fronts to absorb shocks of shortages and frequent price rise for essential commodities in whole of India.


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THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

16 SEPTEMBER 2011

Na kuch kehte hi banta hai, Na chup rehte hi banta hai Hamara bhee to is mitti se aakhir wastha hai kuch - (Raz Andamani) 16 September 2011 | Vol 35 Issue 12

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Myriad Monsoon Miseries

isaster capitalism has etched deep in our memory after the 2004 earthquake and tsunami. We Islanders realized how big the relief and rehabilitation industry is and how it helps in consolidating one's economic standing in the society. Disaster response has become one of the hottest industries today. Monsoon too has become a sort of disaster for the Island territory. With every rainy season comes a set of woes that keeps coming knocking on our doors every season. And, soon after begins a race of reconstruction and maintenance. It has become a big business now, and we have monsoon contractors, who wait for the disaster to hit. Monsoon this year has well and truly hit the islands. If in summer, its scarcity of water, then during monsoon, it's problem of plenty. The distribution network goes awry due to breaking of pipelines at vantage points. Our roads laid just a couple of months back turns into a pool of potholes. Since January, there was hardly a month that did not see a fair amount of rains. With the onset of monsoon in April, it has been a state of perennial rain; sometimes in a continuous sheet, sometimes in bursts, sometime in the middle of bright sunshine, like a bolt from the blue allowing no time to take guard. It has disturbed normal life to an extent that people in general have come to realize that it's going to stay with us. Unfortunately, our Administration does not think so. Or why our roads are unable to survive the monsoons or the pipelines burst every year creating artificial scarcity of water. For past ten days, the water supply system is badly affected in most of the rural areas. Maintenance work on war footing is going on. Traffic is blocked to do patchworks in the city. Fresh pipelines are being laid, which predictably will not withstand next monsoon. There is no sufficient water storage facility in rural areas, which does not ring a bell anywhere. Mother Nature has been too generous and kind to make good the short supply of water that the people were suffering a couple of years back. Alas! She doesn't know we have just laid the foundation stones for more storage facilities and keep doing it on a regular basis. It's high time, our policymakers realize that copy-paste of technology does not suit local conditions. At time, we need to go against the maxim and think and act locally to find indigenous solutions to our road and water woes.

SACRED | SPACE

Temper Control here once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that

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he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.

Once Upon a Time... Shorn of its past power and glory, the top heavy department of environment & forest has failed miserably to serve the interests of those who depended on its vast empire; the people of the islands, the flora & fauna and the forest wealth itself. here was a time when the name and fame of forest department had reached the Buckingham Palace, it was the largest supplier of sleepers for the Indian Railways, its export was unmatched and it was the only revenue earning department of the Island Territory both in pre and post independence period. In its golden era it was the most prosperous and resourceful department. It was largest employer, owned the largest fleet of ships and boats of various sizes. It had tractors, elephants and other tools and equipments engaged in lumbering activities in scores of camps spread across the Andaman Islands from north to south. Till the 60s all the lumbering activities from forest to sawmill and then export was undertaken by the departmental labour following the strict norms set in place by the erstwhile British officers. Conservation and protection of flora & fauna was accorded the same high priority as the commerce and profit earning. Forest officers were seen more in the camps and divisional headquarters than in Port Blair. Just four IFS officers controlled and supervised

the entire department; one Chief Conservator of Forests and three Divisional Forest Officers - one each in Wimberleyganj, Long Island and Mayabunder. With the advent of plywood industries, the profit motive of the industry coupled with the greed of the officers put paid to caution, conservation and preservation. Large Coupes were allotted to the industries that were plundered with aplomb. The worked coupe areas turned into degenerated forest that never recovered. Protests and agitations by the concerned people and agencies fell on deaf ears. The tradition of strict work regimen was given a go by. Personal agenda of officers and senior subordinates replaced loyalty towards the department. The production started dwindling. The graph dipped into red. But the number of officers started increasing; more conservators joined, posts were upgraded. More officers started manning the PCCF secretariat rather than working in the field. The Kolkata and Chennai depots became a liability. It worked as liaison offices for the comfort of senior officers rather

than a functional unit. All the norms of extraction and exploitation were thrown into the wind. But times were changing. The level of awareness was rising and people understood their power to assert. The last nail in the coffin of forest department was driven by the Supreme Court order of 2002 whereby the department lost all the powers save those exercised with the approval of the apex court. It was a simple case of destruction of forest wealth by Andaman & Nicobar Forest & Plantation Corporation Ltd in the tribal area of Little Andaman. The department tried to hoodwink the court with extraneous arguments that forced the hands of the court to review the entire lumbering activities vis-à-vis the status of forest. The arguments resulted in the apex court passing an omnibus order with far reaching consequences both for the islanders and the department. That hardly any part of the court order was implemented in letter & spirit is a different matter. The activities of the department have shrunk drastically but the number of officers keeps on increasing with every passing year.

ix different species of Gurjan occupies 50% to 60% of the natural composition of Island forest territory. All other species including superior hardwood, ornamental hardwood and softwood comprises just 40% of the natural profile. This species was in high demand when plywood industries thrived here. This standard hardwood is not preferred for furniture, doors and windows. But as per its composition, this species are felled more than any

other species after the National Profile Analysis (NPA). This timber remains dumped everywhere - at lumbering sites, roadsides and even in mills. A huge quantity of sawn gurjan is lying in Chatham Saw Mill yard without takers. Gurjan needs treatment for durability and it's obligatory to treat it before sale as per the Apex court order of 2002. It has become a windfall for many at Sawn Timber Treatment Plant

(STTP) at Chatham. Whether the timber is in demand or not, it gets chemically treated, which makes it expensive by Rs 3000/- to 4000/-. Treated sawn timber lies stacked unused and unsold in the yards. The nexus of chemical business too thrives due to this problem of plenty. Moreover, private mills sell untreated Gurjan, which is sold cheaper. Sawn gurjan is used by the construction industry for centering and shuttering.

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Gurjan: Problem of Plenty

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THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

Registration of Fishing Vessels to be Mandatory he Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Marine Fishing (Amendment) Regulation, 2011 by the President under article 240 of the Constitution. The approval will strengthen the coastal security in the coastline of the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in an effective manner by having a streamlined system of registration of all fishing vessels under a single law namely the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. The Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has proposed for promulgation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Marine Fishing (Amendment) Regulation, 2011, with a view to amend the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Marine Fishing Regulation, 2003 (principal Regulation) to prohibit the use of fishing vessels for fishing purpose unless such fishing vessels are reg-

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16 SEPTEMBER 2011

istered under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. The aforesaid proposal has been initiated by the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands keeping in view of the decision taken by the Government of India to have a streamlined system of registration of all fishing vessels under a single law, namely, the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 for strengthening the Coastal Security. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Marine Fishing Regulation, 2003 regulates the fishing by fishing vessels in the sea along with the coastline of the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Keeping in view of the decision taken by the Government of India to have a streamlined system of registration of all fishing vessels under a single law namely the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 for strengthening the Coastal Security, the Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has proposed for promulgation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Marine Fishing (Amendment) Regulation, 2011, to prohibit the use of fishingvessels for fishing purpose unless such fishing vessels are registered under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

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Competition in Amassing Wealth here is enough competition on spending front as well. Younger brother wants a bigger car than the elder one by whatever means. Illustrious marriages have become very common. Women wear notable amount of gold & expensive clothing in functions to be competitive in fashion & fame. People are always in pandemonium on finding the best materials and designs to beautify their homes. Much of this is done only for name & fame. Such name & fame require easy money. Thus, corruption became an approved means of acquiring wealth. Even elders advise youngsters to pay bribe or get recommendations of bigwigs to get a job where one can sit & loot govt money. It has become so common that people consider common money as their inherited property. Most of the govt clerks steal ballpoint pens, papers, files from

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their offices. Engineers steal cement & steel. Forest Staff steal timber, canes, bamboo, & wild meat. Policemen take bribe & close their eyes on illegal activities like bootlegging, gambling etc. Teachers don’t teach properly in school to force private tuitions. All for money. Money for fame. The very meaning of life has changed. Only faith can un-commercialize our lives. To convince guys that it’s wrong to do so first they should know what is getting excessive, competition in amassing wealth. They should know that by bribing and using recommendation they are deprieving the downtrodden & the deserved their rights, which will never get them peace in this world. And more importantly they should know what is the actual meaning of life. V K Nooruddin Calicut

call and inform: 9932081771


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THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS, Port Blair

chalte | CHALTE

16 SEPTEMBER 2011

candid | CAMERA

Rangat Vs Rangat crowd can be seen all the time on any working day at the Inter-Island

ATicketing Counter of the Directorate of Shipping Services at Marine.

Bigger the crowd, more are the characters to be observed. Smoking is banned in public place but one can find people smoking. People with their mouths sealed can be found looking for appropriatecorner to spit their Gutka or Pan. These activities are meant to kill time while one waits for his turn at the ticket counter window to fetch a ticket. A person in a haste and carrying an impression of restlessness on his face, standing ahead of me on reaching the window, said -'Rangat ka ek Ticket saab'. The counter clerk gave him the ticket but asked him to tender exact fare. Since the passenger did not have the change, he left the rest of money with the booking clerk and hurriedly left the counter. The next day, I found him on board the vessel M.V. Rangat which was sailing for Havelock. In order to pass some time I approached my co-passenger and befriended him. A haste and unrest was still visible on his face. I asked ' Kya Bhai you are always in a state of unrest, anything wrong?' 'What to do saab, I had to reach Rangat as soon as possible to meet some of my business commitments; I asked for a ticket to Rangat- the place. But the counter clerk gave me a ticket for the vessel M.V. Rangat. In the morning at jetty too, on enquiry for Rangat, I was directed to board this vessel where as some other vessel had already sailed for Rangat-the place. Now I can only reach Rangat tomorrow. I am a victim of names, a place Rangat vis-a-vis a vessel Rangat'. am a victim of names, a place Rangat vis-a-vis a vessel Rangat'. — Musafir

BACKPACKERS: A Jarawa family loaded with provisions returning to their habitat after visiting PHC Tusonabad.

back | BITES War does not determine who is right only who is left.

Printed and Published by Basudev Dass on behalf of Gezira Publications Pvt. Ltd. at 146-JG Colony, Junglighat, Port Blair - 744103.

Founder Editor: Paras Ram

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Email: lightofandamans@gmail.com.

Printed at Gezira Printers, Port Blair.

Editor: Zubair Ahmed

The Light of Andamans  

A weekly newsmagazine published from Port Blair, Andamans.

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