Andaman and Nicobar Islands (one of the seven union territories of India, are a group of islands at the point of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea) are famous places among the travelers or to those wanderlust guys and is also known for honeymoon destination for their scenic and antiquated beauty. But it's difficult to travel there and here's a good news for all as now the Railway authorities are planning for a train route in Andaman and Nicobar for the first time.
Let's take a look at the scenic beauty of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and know more about the soon-to-start rail route.
Connecting Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the 240-km railway line will have bridges and stations along the coast. This will connect Port Blair with Diglipur becoming the first rail line in the country to get the archipelago (the group of the island) on the rail map. Presently, Port Blair and Diglipur are linked by a 350-km bus service that takes over 14 hours and a ship that takes around 24 hours. There are only two ways to reach Port Blair, capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands either by Air or by Sea.
Talking about the budget, the railway line will be built with Rs 2,413.68 crore with a negative rate of return on investment of -9.64% according to the tripoto.com. Though a rail line is considered commercially viable if it is at least a positive of 12% yet Railways has approved the plan due to its “uniqueness and strategic importance”, as per documents reviewed by The Indian Express. Planning and Finance directorates of Railways said that the project "is unique, away from the mainland, and has tourism potential."
Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jagdish Mukhi told The Indian Express that "As soon as the line is commissioned, tourism will see a jump from the current 4.5 lakh visitors a year to around 6 lakh a year, as per our estimates. So even though the railway survey shows a negative return, our assessment is otherwise. However, we have agreed to share the operational losses, if any."
He added, "These are just two of the main attractions. Lakhs of tourists take great pains to reach there from Port Blair every year. With the railway line in place, that part essentially becomes a part of the capital, beneficial to tourists, local residents, and the defense forces."
Above all this, its a great news for the traveler who wants to visit the Union Territory.