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One of the famous islands in the Nicobar Islands clusters is the Katchal Island, which covers an area of 174.4 kms. This is situated at a distance of around 305 ms from the capital city of Port Blair. The previous name of this Katchal was Tihnyu. This is the living place for both the local as well as the migrants. The main population covers the Nicobari tribal people and the Tamils who have migrated here.
The most notable thing about this Island which comes under the Indian terrain and the supervision of Port Blair is that the disastrous Tsunami which occurred in 2004 had hugely affected the entire area. The Shastri-Sirimao Bandaranayaka Pact of the year 1964 had brought the migrant Tamils to this place. Tourists cannot visit this island freely, and the consent of the Port Blair administrative authorities is essential for visiting here.
The first sunrise on of 1st January 2005 was unforgettable which was witnessed by several rich and great people across the globe. It was the Tsunami which occurred on 26 December 2004, which caused a highly a perishable damage to the island, thereby bringing a grinding halt, the economic life of the masses at large. Over 5000 were said to be missing during this disaster and as many as 1600 out of this count were said to be from Andaman Nicobar Islands.
Though a good number of Government personnel were deputed here before the occurrence of the Tsunami, since their quarters were located near the sea, many of them were missing after the mishap, and only a few could escape its threat and thus move to the hill stationed in the vicinity. To quote, out of 47 teachers who were deputed here before 26.11.2004, none of them survived. Many were found to be hanging on to the coconut tree tops during the Tsunami. Out of 344 people who died only one body was found. Most of land area has become unusable after the Tsunami and many Tribal Chiefs were dead. The Trinket Island situated next, was totally submerged in the Tsunami.
The three divisions of the Nicobar Islands are Northern, Central and Southern parts. Katchal happens to be the main island of these. The post Tsunami period saw four tribal villages coming up which were E-Wall, Meenakshi Ram Nagar, Japan Tikri and Upper Katchal. Languages in use in Katchal are Nicobari, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Santhali.
History speaks that external forces have been influencing the Nicobar Island for many years and AD 1059 was said to be an age which covered the Nicobar as a part of the Tamil Chola King of Tanjor. British later took control of the region in1869.
Both calcareous sandstone and marble form a part of the hilly areas and pythons, black monkeys and pigs form a part of the tropical forest areas. Sunrise, Sunset and wonderful sceneries are indeed a feast to the eyes. Coconut, Betelnut or Arecanut are the main tradable goods. Also Rubber and Red oil palm are the other plantations.
- One Primary Health Centre and 3 sub centers are available
- Education system brings three stages viz Primary, Middle and Senior Secondary levels of learning.
- There is adequate water available for living
- Though there is power supply available the capacity is being contemplated to increase
- Also, there are transportation facilities through Ship from Kamorta through Ferry. Also one can find a police station in this island.
- Though the strength of mobile phones is very low, PSTN phones are available. Also, e governance through VSAT is under development.
How to Reach
- Passenger ships are sailing from Chennai to Port Blair and Vishakhapatnam
- Sailings are from Calcutta and Vishakhapatnam at regular intervals
- Calcutta and Chennai are the places from where one can take a flight to Port Blair and travel through Sea from there. The flight takes approximately two hours.
- It happens to be one of the famous tourists spot and enjoyable indeed.