Lakshadweep opens 12 more islands for tourists

The tropical archipelago off India’s west coast, Lakshadweep, is all set to attract more tourists by opening up 12 of its virgin islands. Minicoy, Bangaram, Suheli, Cherium, Tinnakara, Kalpeni, Kadmat, Agatti, Chetlat and Bitra are the islands being opened up for tourism.

The move is being implemented as part of the Centre’s initiative for holistic development of islands and will give a leg up to niche tourism in Lakshadweep. Since the archipelago is an ecologically fragile area, it is with great care that the authorities are developing the islands for tourism activities.

“Current effort is not only to ramp up tourism, but to also open up the island cluster to public, private and public-private partnership mode of investments to create more employment for Lakshadweep islanders,” said Balram Meena, Director of tourism in Lakshadweep.

The island administration has already started inviting ecofriendly resorts and scuba diving centres to invest in the area. As part of the Island Management Plan, the administration has finalised suitability reports for each island, and also specified carrying capacity in each case.  The move is to ensure that no ecological damage comes to the islands.

“Every island will have its unique features, from fishing to agriculture and development of medicinal plants-…we want to showcase Lakshadweep as a jewel in India’s crown,” Meena told TOI.

Three public-private partnership projects in Suheli, Minicoy and Kadmat are ready to be launched. The government said it is expecting an investment of over Rs 300 crore from the private sector after these projects are implemented.

Government is looking to improve over the months include modern jetties, air, road and web connectivity, good quality drinking water and ensuring regular power supply. Tuna fishing, regarded as heavily underdeveloped in Lakshadweep, will be promoted as part of measures to improve livelihoods in Lakshadweep.