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Stranded tourists in Havelock Island safe: Rajnath

PTI | New Delhi |

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said all tourists at Havelock Island in the Andamans, who are stuck due to cyclonic conditions, are safe and efforts are on for their early evacuation.
Singh on Thursday called up Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jagdish Mukhi and enquired about the status of the stranded tourists.
Mukhi briefed the Home Minister about the situation and the steps taken for rescue of the stranded tourists.
“All the tourists in Havelock Island are safe and the government has made all preparation to evacuate them.
Government will launch rescue operations after the intensity of cyclone reduces,” Singh said in a statement.
The Home Minister said that rescue teams are ready at Port Blair and appealed to family members of the stranded tourists not to panic as all in the Havleock Island are reported to be safe.
Havelock and Neil islands, approximately 40 kms from Port Blair, have been hit the most by the cyclonic weather conditions caused by a severe depression over southeast Bay of Bengal which led to heavy rainfall, strong wind and rough sea conditions, officials said.
Neil and Havelock are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Andamans and the only means of transportation from them are vessels and choppers which have stopped operation since Monday last due to bad weather.
South Andaman's deputy commissioner Udit Prakash Rai had said yesterday, “About 1,400 tourists, who had visited the islands, are now stranded and unable to return to Port Blair to fly back home.”
The local populace of 10 villages of Havelock and Neil islands have also been hit severely by the cyclone which has hampered the movement of essential supplies.
Indian naval ships Bitra, Bangaram, Kumbhir and LCU 38 have been deployed for evacuation.