Port Blair, Jan 17: The Vice-President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, currently on visit to the A&N Islands, inaugurated the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre (NPIC) at Haddo here this morning. He was accompanied by Admiral D K Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd.), Lt. Governor, A&N Islands and Vice Chairman, Islands Development Agency. The Vice President unveiled a plaque to inaugurate the NPIC. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Chetan B. Sanghi, DGP, Shri Dependra Pathak, PCCF (E&F), Shri Tarun Coomar, PCCF (WL) Shri D M Shukla and other senior officers of the Administration were present on the occasion.
The Vice President visited the Butterfly Conservatory and released some butterflies in the Conservatory. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have around 300 species of butterflies, out of which 207 are endemic to the region. Water bodies with inter-connecting channels have been added in the conservatory to provide the much required moist and airy micro climate for the butterflies to thrive.
Shri Naidu also visited the Orchids and Ferns House in the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre, which showcases the habitat of the tropical orchids. So far about 140 species of orchids and an equal number of ferns have been reported from the Andaman Islands. They include tree-ferns, whose origin can be traced back to the Jurassic era. Vanilla, used in confectionaries is also sourced from an orchid species found in these Islands. The Vice President also planted a Rudraaksh sapling there.
At the Nature Park, the Vice President also appreciated a wooden sculpture of a mother and child, made out of the trunk of a single Andaman Padauk tree. The sculpture represents nature as a mother, who lovingly nurtures all her creation. A tribal woman has been depicted as the mother, as a mark of deep respect to the tribal people of Andaman, who are revered as the protectors of the Islands.
The Vice President also visited the Tree Top Cafeteria, where he was briefed about the Nature Park and Interpretation Centre and its objective by the PCCF (WL).