Chatham Saw Mill at Andaman
Chatham saw mill at Andaman Islands is one of the oldest and largest wood mills in Asia. The mill was built in 1883 on a tiny island Chatham which is connected with Port Blair by a man made bridge. The Mill was set up with the primary objective to meet the local requirements of saw and timber for the constructional works.
Chatham Saw Mill was of utmost importance in the pre-independence era as it catered to the needs of the wood. During the Second World War, the mill was extracted with a heavy bombarding done by the Japanese and was badly destroyed as one bomb hit it directly. The Japanese then occupied this island and it remained under their rule till 1945. Post Second World War, the island revived its glory and the mill started functioning again in 1946.
The Chatham Saw Mill stood as a spectator to the rise and fall of various Regimes in the Islands since the year 1883. Ever since its establishment, the Mill was catering to the needs of sawn timber of the Islanders for various construction purposes and has been the backbone of the wood based industrial units in the islands. It finds a place among the big and famous saw mills in the Asian Region. The pioneer giant has an installed capacity for sawing about 20,000 cum logs annually in three shifts. All the major timber trees of the Islands are used as raw material in the Mill. The entire production of sawn timber in the Mill is sold under the coverage of an Administered Price Mechanism and is consumed locally for furniture making, construction purposes. The export of timber from the Islands to the mainland is strictly prohibited.
Today, Chatham Saw Mill is a must visit point in Port Blair City Sightseeing. The Mill display & exhibits the system of cutting and sizing of woods in old methods. One can also visit the Museum in Chatham Saw Mill Complex which displays the Handicraft made by the premium wood found at Andaman and Nicobar Islands.