Havelock beckons

Published : Dec 21, 2007 00:00 IST

The beach at Havelock Island. -

The beach at Havelock Island. -

The beach at

HAVELOCK Island will become the heart of tourism in Andaman and Nicobar islands, says V. K. Misra, Information Officer, Directorate of Information, Publicity and Tourism, Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration.

Near the modest market on Havelock Island, our taxi driver points to a vacant patch of land and informs us that it has been sold to a hotel group for Rs.1.7 crore for building a resort. The land is only a few acres. Later, Mohamed H. Jadwet, president, Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, confirms that the price of land on Havelock Island has gone up five to six times.

Havelock Island is a 150-minute ride by ferry from Port Blair. It has everything going for it to become the hottest tourism destination in the archipelago. It has unspoilt beaches, dense forests, facilities for snorkelling, scuba diving and so on. The Directorate of Tourism of the Andaman and Nicobar islands administration runs a well-maintained resort here. Besides, a plethora of resorts to suit all budgets dot the island. In 2004, Time magazine voted Radhanagar beach on the island the best beach in Asia.

An added attraction is an elephant training camp on a beach in the island. On the day Frontline visited the camp, four elephants were being trained to haul logs. It takes about a year to train a young elephant, said veterinary trainer Suresh Baa, and added that the commands are given in the Burmese language.

The Special Secretary (Tourism), Andaman and Nicobar islands administration, says tenders have been invited from reputed firms/entrepreneurs for the development of eco-friendly tourism infrastructure on four islands. The sites include 15.94 hectares (1 hectare is 2.47 acres) of land at Radhanagar; 9.7 ha at Bharatpur, Neil Island; 12 ha at Lalaji Bay, Long Island; and 5 ha at Hutbay, Little Andaman.

Havelock Island has more than 7,000 residents, most of them having come here from West Bengal in the 1960s. A majority of the islanders are farmers.

T.S. Subramanian
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