The international airport in Port Blair is likely to be equipped with night landing facility within six months with the Andaman and Nicobar administration taking steps to improve infrastructure.
Briefing a delegation of journalists, Lt Gen (retd) Ajay Kumar Singh said, “Though we have an international airport here, we don’t have any international flight landing presently. So, we intend to improve the infrastructure and try to get some of these 96 flights land here. So, night landings in Andaman are possible within six months.”
Observing that there were over 96 flights passing over the Andaman Islands, he said, “We are in the process of expanding the airport infrastructure. We are talking with the Civil Aviation Ministry for another airport. The foundation stone for that will be laid soon, he said.
Currently, few airliners fly to Andamans from the mainland and they do not fly in the nights, as the Veer Savarkar International Airport at Port Blair does not have the necessary infrastructure.
The scenic Island had received over 2,50,000 tourists last year and the administration hoped to increase the number by furthering infrastructure.
Charting out his plan to focus on tourism and infrastructure in the Islands, Mr. Singh said the administration was taking efforts to set up a government arts and science university and a medical college for the youth.
“We have already advertised for an advisor who will put in place the medical university to be functional from 2015.
It will function from a temporary premises initially and later will be moved to its own land,” the Lt Governor said.
Observing that there is a mismatch between the number of students passing out of schools in the Islands and number of seats available in four colleges here, Mr. Singh said, “We are in the process of starting a university within a year or so.
“We are yet to take a call on whether it will be a union territory administration university or central university,” he said.
Acknowledging shortage of medical staff in the Islands, he said, “There are 38 specialists positions that are presently vacant. People from the mainland are not willing to come here.
But, with the coming of the medical college, both shortage of doctors as well as college for our students will be addressed.
GB Pant Hospital at Port Blair is the lone referral hospital for the entire Union Territory.
As for fisheries, storage facilities would be improved to store and market fish catch from Andamans itself without being taken to the mainland, Mr. Singh said.