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Tourism prime focus besides IT in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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Port Blair and Around
Port Blair and Around, Photo Source www.andamans.gov.in

Port Blair, Nov 22: With tourist footfall going up by 23 per cent in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, the authorities have decided to heavily invest in the sector as well as in information technology (IT) to ensure holistic development of the islands, stakeholders say.

“Tourism and It would be our prime focus. At least four lakh tourists come to the islands every year and stay for four days on an average. The amount of money tourists would spend on amenities like drinking water, food and lodging, would be a major boost for the island’s economy if the number keeps on increasing,” local MP Bishnupada Ray told a select group of visiting mediapersons in this capital of the Union territory.

“Development is needed as it is a secluded place, far from the mainland. However, with proper connectivity and infrastructure, the amount of natural resources and potential the Andamans have, can feed all of India,” he added.

According to the Andaman and Nicobar administration, the number of tourists increased by 23 per cent from around 3.25 lakh in 2015 to over 400,000 in 2016.

“The administration does not levy any tax on the tourists. With the boom in tourism, the revenue that would come from the food and hospitality sectors would certainly benefit the region’s economy,” Chief Secretary Anindo Majumdar told IANS.

“According to our estimate, from the tourism sector alone, the government would earn revenues of nearly Rs 400-500 crore ($61-77 million) every year,” he said.

The archipelago, endowed with picturesque landscapes, sterling beaches and nature’s generous gifts, is eyeing a sustained flow of high-end tourists.

“Promotion of tourism, including high-end tourism, in a sustainable manner is one of the developmental priorities of the administration,” Majumdar said.

The islands — nearly 1,300 kilometres west of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal — are a tourists’ paradise. The Union territory comprises 608 emerald islands with exotic names, out of which only 31 are inhabited. It overall enjoys a whopping 94 percent of forest cover.

One can laze around the enticing beaches at Havelock Island, or Ross and Smith — the twin islands joined by a bewitching sandbar. Sea-bathing and sun-basking at the Corbyn’s Cove beach helps one to unwind and de-stress while the Hilltop Gallows on Viper Island and Port Blair’s Cellular Jail are sure to overwhelm visitors with a sense of patriotism as the clock ticks back to the days of India’s freedom struggle.

The majority of tourists visit Port Blair, Ross and Havelock, which are home to various adventure sports like scuba diving, snorkeling and sea-walking.

Havelock, probably the most coveted tourist destination for its famous Radhanagar and Laxmanpur sea beaches, stands tall among all the islands, that are far less accessible for the majority of tourists.

Ray said massive infrastructural development has taken wings for the expansion of National Highway 4 that would connect north, middle and south Andamans.

Also the civilian and army airports are being upgraded and the number of flights from the mainland as well as within the islands would significantly increase in the near future under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) flight scheme.

Conceding that building heavy industries in the islands was difficult due to its distance from the mainland, Ray said a massive Rs 1,102 crore project for laying an undersea optical fibre cable (OFC) between Chennai and Port Blair will open up new horizons for the IT sector.

“We are also focusing on building the Andamans as an IT hub as the fibre optic is coming from the mainland. All the major islands like Port Blair, Havlock, Long Island, Diglipur, Rangat, Nicobar would get the benefit of internet in the coming days.”

IANS

India

Travelling to Maharashtra from these states? Covid-negative report must

The Maharashtra government has issued a new set of rules according to which domestic passengers travelling via trains or flights will need to carry a RT-PCR negative test report with them to enter the state.

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Public and Police Relation During Corona

The Maharashtra government on Monday made it mandatory for all passengers coming in from Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Goa to procure a Covid-negative certificate to gain entry into the state.

The state government has issued a new set of rules, according to which domestic passengers travelling via trains or flights will need to carry a RT-PCR negative test report with them before entering the state.

Those coming via air will have to show the negative test report to airport officials before boarding the flight. The RT-PCR sample collection should have been done within 72 hours of the scheduled landing in Maharashtra. Those not carrying the reports will have to undergo the test at the landing airport. While the airport authorities will arrange for the tests, the passengers will pay for them.

Meanwhile, all passengers travelling to Maharashtra by trains originating or having halts at stations in Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat or Goa need to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 96 hours before arrival in Maharashtra.

Passengers not carrying the report shall be screened for symptoms and body temperature at the alighting railway stations. Those without symptoms will be allowed to enter the state, while those who display symptoms will be made to undergo Rapid Antigen test.

The rules are relaxed for those travelling by road. Passengers entering the border will be screened for symptoms, including body temperature. Those without symptoms will be allowed entry, while those who display symptoms will be made to undergo a Rapid Antigen test.

The state government’s circular came hours after the Supreme Court sought a status report from governments of Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Assam on steps taken to control the spread of the coronavirus infection. The pandemic situation in Delhi has “worsened” and it has gone “out of control” in Gujarat, the Supreme Court had said.

While fresh cases of coronavirus infections continue to decline — or remain stagnant — in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even Himachal Pradesh have been seeing a significant rise in active cases.

At least five persons died due to COVID-19 every hour on an average in Delhi in the last 24 hours, accounting for the largest chunk of such fatalities across the country, PTI reported. Gujarat, on the other hand, reported 1,495 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the total count of infections to 1,97,693. The biggest rise in active cases in the last two weeks has come in Rajasthan – an increase of more than 5,600 — followed by Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

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Cities

UP To Test Every Traveller From Delhi For Coronavirus

It seems the second Covid-19 has hit the national capital, he said, pointing to a spurt in cases there.

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COVID-19 antibody testing

The Uttar Pradesh government will test all travellers from Delhi for coronavirus, an official said on Sunday.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R K Tiwari said the state government is also considering restrictions on the number of people at weddings and other social programmes.

Tiwari said infection cases have increased in UP districts bordering Delhi.

It seems the second Covid-19 has hit the national capital, he said, pointing to a spurt in cases there.

So, we are testing everyone coming from Delhi, be it by air, train or bus, he said.

When asked about the kind of curbs that may be imposed at social gatherings, Tiwari said the decision will be taken on the prevailing situation.

“Districts in western UP like Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad have restricted social gatherings to 100. Necessary steps will be taken as per the prevailing situation in various places to stop the spread of the infection,” he said.

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Travel

US CDC advises against cruise ship travel

The advisory comes as the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has topped the 12 million mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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cruise ship

Washington: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an advisory against cruise ship travels as Covid-19 transmission risk on liners is very high.

“For most travellers, cruise ship travel is voluntary and should be rescheduled for a future date,” Xinhua news agency quoted the CDC as saying in a statement posted on its website on Saturday.

The agency raised its warning to Level 4 from Level 3, citing “very high” Covid-19 risk on cruise ships.

It also advised liner passengers to get tested three to four days after the travel and stay at home for seven days even with negative test results.

In March, the CDC issued a no-sail order in response to the pandemic.

Last month, the agency came up with a framework for a phased resumption of liner operations.

Every ship must be certified by the CDC before travelers can board.

According to the CDC, from March 1 to September 28, there were “a total of 3,689 confirmed cases or Covid-like illness cases on cruise ships and 412 deaths”.

The advisory comes as the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has topped the 12 million mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Sunday, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the country’s current caseload and death toll stood at 12,079,296 and 255,804, respectively.

By far, the US remains the nation worst hit by the pandemic, with the world’s most cases and deaths, making up more than 20 per cent of the global caseload.

US Covid-19 cases hit 10 million on November 9, and increased by 1 million within a week.

Starting from November 3, the number of daily cases have been surging above the threshold of 100,000, which has never been seen in past months.

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