Controversy over Andaman Trunk Road deepens

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Port Blair, Feb 13 (UNI) The Centre's recent move to hand over the 350 km-Andaman Trunk Road to Border Road Organisation has created ripples among the islanders of this union territory.

The Congress, which is opposing this move since last year, has now come out openly against the transfer of work of maintenance and development of ATR from the Andaman Public Works Department (APWD) to the BRO.

The ATR cuts through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve of Middle Andaman and South Andaman and connects North Andaman.

However, the Jarawa activists have alleged that the road was disturbing the life of Jarawa tribes.

In a recent letter to the Prime Minister, the Andaman and Nicobar Territorial Congress Committee (ANTCC) has requested to issue necessary directions to the concerned ministry to entrust the entire work to APWD.

The APWD officials stated that most of construction work of the rural roads had been transferred to the Panchayati Raj Institution and with tranfer of ATR to the BRO, the department will be left without any work or funds.

''There are many local youths in the department, who will be deprived of any job if the work is given to the BRO,'' the officials said.

''We will have to close down nearly 50 site offices and all the work force will have to be adjusted in other sections, if ATR work goes to BRO. It will be a great loss to the government,'' said a senior officer of APWD, on the condition of anonymity.

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