Tourists inconvenienced as hotel staffers join stir over power shortage in Andamans' Havelock Island

Tourists were greeted with placards that read "Welcome to stone-age island" and "No power, no water, no wifi, enjoy primitive living experience".

Havelock Island, Andaman (photo: @Rohit_darksider/X)
Havelock Island, Andaman (photo: @Rohit_darksider/X)


Around 2,000 tourists faced inconvenience in hotels as many staffers were away to join sit-in demonstrations in protest against frequent power cuts in Swaraj Dweep, popularly known as Havelock Island, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

As many as 300 agitators, including hotel staffers, locals and tour operators, staged sit-in demonstrations in front of Inspection Bungalow, jetty and Havelock Bazaar, all three spots situated in close proximity, for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, demanding uninterrupted power supply in the island during the ongoing peak tourist season.

Swaraj Dweep panchayat pradhan Ajit Kumar Roy said, "Today, our peaceful demonstration entered the second day and will continue till tomorrow. After that, if the situation does not improve, we may hold a relay hunger strike from December 14 and even call for a strike in the tourism industry".

Tourists stepping onto the island at the jetty were greeted with placards that read "Welcome to stone-age island" and "No power, no water, no wifi, enjoy primitive living experience".

On the first day of the protest, the agitators continued the demonstration till dusk.

"We came here yesterday and were worried about the stir... there is a severe power shortage in the island, due to which hotel staffers were unable to provide regular water supply and Wi-Fi services," Sunny Rathore, a tourist from Haryana, told PTI.

"Normal room service has also been affected as hotel staffers were joining the protest during daytime. There is power backup but the hotels shut off the power supply at night citing reasons that generators need to cool off after running for six-eight hours. I feel the administration should seriously look into the matter as it is sending a wrong message to tourists from across the globe," Rathore said.

Frequent power cuts have affected daily lives and tourism activities for the last couple of months on the island.

A majority of the power supply in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is provided by diesel power stations.

Officials said that the power generation capacity in Havelock Island is currently 1.3 MW but it needs at least 5 MW for uninterrupted power supply.

Locals alleged there is a severe shortage of manpower in the electricity department, hindering effective maintenance.

The Hoteliers Association of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has expressed concern over the issue and written a letter to Chief Secretary Keshav Chandra requesting his intervention in the matter.

Meanwhile, the electricity department has shifted one diesel generator set from Diglipur in North Andaman to Swaraj Dweep as a temporary arrangement to resolve the power issue up to a certain extent, official sources said, adding although that may not be enough to meet the power demand. 

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