Friday, May 28, 2010



Seaplane Service by October

Come October and Indians won’t need to go abroad to fly a seaplane — the ones that take off and land on water.


For the first time in India's aviation history, seaplane operations are likely to begin in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in October this year, with the state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL) planning to launch its services.
Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL) along with the Andaman and Nicobar administration is getting the country’s first seaplane for island hopping by tourists in the breathtaking archipelago.
The two government bodies agreed, last week, to equally share the cost of this programme that will, to begin with, be launched as a pilot project for six months in October and then extended depending on the response.
"We plan to launch seaplane operations by October 15," PHHL CMD, R K Tyagi said at a seminar on helicopter operations at New Delhi last week, adding that the operations would be launched jointly by the public sector chopper firm and the island administration to operate sorties for tourists and inter-island movements.
The PHHL, which currently operates helicopter services in the group of islands, also plans similar services in Goa and Lakshadweep after the Andaman operations settle down.


The chopper firm plans to wet-lease one amphibian seaplane, likely from a Mauritius-based company, for one year. The cost of the project, which is to be shared 50:50 with the A & N Administration, would be about Rs six to eight crores.
“We are going to issue a global tender to take a helicopter on wet lease (hired from a company that looks after its maintenance and provides the crew). Seaplanes are available in the range of eight to 18 seaters,” PHHL chief R K Tyagi said.
Operating the seaplane will cost about Rs 1 crore a month, including lease rental and operational expenses, that will be equally shared by the two government agencies.
The Andaman & Nicobar Administration has chosen some of the most beautiful islands for being linked by the seaplane with the capital Port Blair. These include Havelock (rated among the best beaches globally), Barren Island (an active volcano that most recently came to life five years ago), Neil Island and Diglipur (North Andaman).


The local administration will provide the infrastructure like maintenance units and passenger jetties in different islands where the plane will fly. The aviation ministry has long been pushing for introduction of seaplanes in India.
One does get an impression that seaplanes have a huge potential in India that has a coastline of over 8,000 km and dotted by several beautiful islands. In fact, PHHL was asked to get the first seaplane on its own but given the expenses involved, the PSU was looking at getting partners.
To questions on PHHL's chopper operations in the islands; he said the Union Home Ministry subsidized helicopter operations in the islands in 90:10 ratio.
This enables a local inhabitant to pay only ten per cent of the price for inter-island transportation while a tourist pays 25 per cent of the cost.
The Tourism Department has signed a MoU with Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited to wet lease seaplanes for six months to operate on a trial basis. If it works well, it would come as an enchanting boon both for the tourists and the local people alike.
However, seaplanes are not very new for the people of these historic Indian coral islands. The Japanese occupation forces had used seaplanes in the Andamans for sometime during the Second World War, till the Allied Forces had introduced a full blockade of the islands. But those were only the seaplanes used for the purpose of warfare and not for any civilian use.




News courtesy: The Economic Times ; Japanese Photo -

Saturday, May 22, 2010



Adieu To A Teacher!!!

The results of the CBSE class XIIth exams in respect of all the schools in the islands have been made available on 20 May, 2010. According to a press release issued by the Directorate of Education, the overall pass percentage of the students in the islands stood at 75.75% while for the government-run schools, the percentage was 73.14%. Out of the 4023 students who took the examinations this time, 3047 have come out successful, 717 have been placed in compartment and the remaining 256 have been declared failed.
The three schools, which have secured 100% result in the examination, include Govt. Sr. Sec School Malacca, Car Nicobar, Navy Children School, Port Blair and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Panchavati, Middle Andaman. The students who secured the Top Ten positions in the islands are Nithya Nair of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya (96.4%), who got the first rank as the Islands’ Topper, Arnab Biswas of Carmel Sr. Sec. School (96.0%) has stood second and Mayank Chadha of Kamaraj English Medium School (95.6%) has been placed on the third rank.
The remaining positions are as follows: Gaurav Chauhan of SSS Carmel (95.2%), Arjit Raj of GSSS Model (95.0%), Priyanka Sankaran of GSSS Model (94.4%), Sanjana Upadhyay of GSSS Model (94.0%), Deepti Kumar Paladugu of GSSS Model (93.2%), Pritam Mazumdar of Navy Children School (93.2%), Annu Janardhan of Navy Children School (93.%), Nitin Chandran of SSS Carmel (93.%), Varun Singh of GSSS Model (92.8%) and Praveen Ganesh of VKV (92.8%).
Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary (Higher Education) as also the senior officers of the Directorate of Education, A & N Administration have congratulated the heads of schools, toppers and their parents for bringing out good results, the release added.
Personally, it’s a matter of immense delight for me to see a girl student of the Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Port Blair, of which I have been a student of the very first batch way back in the eighties, securing the glorious first rank in the entire island territory. The august institution has been a stalwart alternative for the students of these far-flung islands who earlier had to make do with the slapdash herd of government-run schools and merely a couple of other private educational institutions.
It’s a truly refreshing feeling, nevertheless, to see the government-run Model Senior Secondary School doing exceedingly well this time producing most of the top-ranking students in the islands, under the sincerely proficient direction of the out-going Principal, an ever vivacious leader, Dr. Veena Parekh.
She is retiring on superannuation from an outstanding service on June, 30, 2010, emphatically establishing the fact that government-run institutions can work wonders if those managing them mean business and are devoutly dedicated. It’s now for her successors to uphold the refreshingly proud change that Dr. Parekh has brought about.
There couldn’t have been a better souvenir for her from her students than the enviable result they have come out with, at the twilight of her brilliant career as a devoted teacher with a persistently optimistic eye for a consummate future. Hearty congratulations to all the successful students and…
Thankful kudos and farewell to Dr. Veena Parekh!!!
News courtesy: The Daily Telegrams