It’s just like dream becomes true? Isn’t it? For quite a long time, we have been travelling within Andman by roads and ferries, no other option but the expensive helicopter or sea plane. But now, the ministry of railways is planning to build railway routes in Andman. It has been a dream destination for most of the Indians as well as foreigners. Journey within the longest route from Port Blair to Diglipur is very long journey of 12hrs approximately whether by road or ferry. Definitely, this awesome step of railways will boost up the Andman tourism in an effective way.
So, what is the current situation in Andman?
As I have already mentioned that the longest distance between Port Blair to North Andman’s largest city Diglipur is about 325km which takes more than 12 hrs by Andman Trunk Road road (NH-4) or ferry. Not all the routes within Andman can be covered by railways as it is nearly impossible, but this longest route needs certainly a train route. The road journey has some hassles as it crosses through the Jarava reserve forest area. There are also two water crossing points where passengers as well as vehicles are required to be carried on large ferries to cross the water. It creates a significant delay in the road journey. Buses do not run at nights or late evenings also. Ferries between Port Blair and Diglipur are also not available all the time due to weather disturbances, their ticket booking is another hassle.
What will be the route of the trains in Andman?
The proposed route will connect Port Blair and Diglipur by a 240 km long broad gauge. This route will be the first to include a archipelago on the railways map. The already existing road and sea journeys take more than 12 hrs, but trains will take just 3 hrs which will revolutionize the Andman tourism. The most beautiful part of this route is that it will not pass through the middle of the islands or Jarava forest area, but it will pass along the coast, stations will be built also along the cost. The possible towns which will be connected between Port Blair and Diglipur are Baratang, Rangat and Mayabunder.
Cost of the project.
It is estimated that the project will cost about 2413.68 crore with a negative rate of return of about 9.6 percent. Railways says any project is commercially feasible only when it has at least a positive return of 12 percent. However Railways has approved it due to its uniqueness and strategic importance as per documents.
So, what will be the benefits?
1. Tourism Boost Up:
No doubt, it will certainly boost up the tourism specially in the North Andman because less people visit there due to the hassles of long road or sea journeys. The drastic reduction in the duration of the Port Blair-Diglipur journey from 12 hrs to 3 hrs will certainly attract a lot of tourists from South Andman who will be visiting not only just Port Blair, Neil and Havelock islands. The largest city of North Andman Diglipur has Ross and Smith islands which is supposed to be more or equally beautiful like Havelock. Moreover, from the engineering and architectural point of view, people will be curious to see this wonderful railway route like Kashmir or Konkan railways.
2. Convenience to local residents too
Not only the tourists, but local residents will also be benefited by this project. They live in islands away from the mainland and deprived of many facilities as we mainlanders have. They face problems while travelling long distances by sea or road. So, this project is going to ignite a spark of happiness in their life too.
3. Importance for defence forces.
The ministry has also said that in addition to tourism boost up, this project is also important for the defence forces as Diglipur is only 300 km by sea from the southern coast of Myanmar. This will help them to build the strategic line like those in north east border regions.
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