Port Blair, Feb 09: Mr. Kuldeep Rai Sharma, Member of Parliament, A&N Islands has requested Chief Secretary, A&N Administration to allow the Islanders coming back to Port Blair from different part of the country viz. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, UP, Bihar etc. to undergo RT-PCR test of COVID-19 at Airport, Port Blair as was done earlier as the Islanders are facing tremendous hardship to get RT-PCR test report from the designated labs in mainland within 48 hrs of their journey which is also highly expensive.
He said most of our Islanders coming from mainland after medical treatment or attending some important works are financially weak and they have to travel long distance by bus or train to major cities of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkatta, Hyderabad etc to take flight for Port Blair.
Because of the RT-PCR test, they have to stay in hotels/ lodges for two days until the RT-PCR report comes which adds to an extra expenses for themselves and their family members consists of 3-4 persons which is beyond their financial capacity to meet the expenses of hotels/lodges and RT-PCR test fee etc. He also emphasis the other difficulties facing by the Islanders that after booking flight tickets, they need to undergo RT-PCR test report, which is valid only for 48 hours prior to departure. If unfortunately, he/she is found COVID-19 positive, then he/she is forced to cancel flight tickets, which are mostly non-refundable, or a very small amount is refundable.
Therefore, the Member of Parliament Mr. Sharma has requested the Administration to consider his aforesaid proposal in the larger interest of the Islanders. However, he suggested that the present system of RT-PCR test at mainland for tourists coming from mainland may be continued to keep the islanders safe from COVID-19.