ATR should remain with the APWD: Bhakta

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Port Blair, Apr 3 (UNI) Lone MP from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Manoranajan Bhakta today asserted that people were firmly against the transfer of the Andaman Trunk Road's (ATR) maintenace and upkeep to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

''We are not going to part with the ATR,'' the MP told mediapersons here.

The ATR, a nearly 300 km long highway, connects South Andaman with North and Middle Andaman, cutting through the Jarawa Reserve Forest.

The islanders had been demanding that the ATR should be looked after by the Andaman Public Works Department (APWD).

However, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had been urging the administration to hand over the ATR to the BRO.

''Since the Tsunami, the ATR has been maintained, repaired and upgraded entirely with the Andaman administration's funds. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has not spent a single rupee on it,'' Mr Bhakta said.

He informed that long stretches of the ATR were renovated after the tsunami at Andaman's own expenses.

''It is not just a question of road maintenance. It is a question of money flowing into the local economy, employment and the general prosperity that the work will bring for the people of the territory,'' the MP added.

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