Port Blair, Nov 23 (UNI) The Federal Administrator of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands today said the distribution of permanent shelters for the tsunami-victims in the islands would start from the first week of December.
Lt Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Bhopinder Singh said, ''I assure that we will start distributing nearly 150 permanent shelters to the tsunami-hit families from the first week of December.'' The Lt Governor said the first batch of tsunami shelters was almost ready.
The Centre is constructing nearly 9,797 permanent shelters for the families rendered homeless by the 2004 tsunami in different parts of the islands, with the help of a number of NGOs.
The assurance came amidst widespread resentment among tsunami-affected families and various media reports in the local and national media, highlighting the alleged failure of the Andaman and Nicobar administration to provide permanent shelters even after three years of the tsunami's occurrence.
''I accept there has been a delay but people and the media should note that the challenges we have been facing in these remote islands are different from other tsunami-ravaged places, including Chennai and Indonesia. The main hurdle is transportation of logistics to various remote islands,'' Mr Singh added.
Tsunami waves, which followed a mega Indonesian quake on December 26, 2004, had killed nearly 3,800 people in the islands and left another 42,000 people homeless.
Since the past three years, the tsunami-hit families were living under difficult conditions in intermediate shelters made of corrugated steel sheets.
''We believe that other shelters will also be ready by December next year,'' Mr Singh said.
Earlier, the Andaman and Nicobar administration had twice given deadline for completing the tsunami rehabilitation work, but failed to provide relief.