Way out for stranded islanders - The New Indian Express

Way out for stranded islanders

Published: 17th October 2012 08:31 AM

Last Updated: 17th October 2012 08:32 AM

Bringing relief to the stranded passengers, the Lakshadweep administration operated an alternative vessel to the island from Kochi on Tuesday. The passengers had been stranded for two days after the crew members of two passenger vessels went on strike demanding a hike in salary.

According to officials in Lakshadweep Bhavan in Kochi, they are operating other passenger ships on a regular basis so that passenger movement is not hit.

The trip by mv Amindivi, scheduled to sail on Monday evening, was postponed following the strike. mv  Minicoy, scheduled to set sail on Tuesday, was also cancelled. However, the administration on Tuesday operated mv Arabian Sea that can accommodate 250 passengers with a few stranded passengers. The worst affected was the cargo movement.

“We have given money for arranging own accommodation. We have issued `180 a ticket. Besides, bigger ships are arranged so that all passengers can be transported at a time,” an official at Lakshadweep Bhavan said.

However, the passengers languishing at Lakshadweep Bhavan were fuming at the fact that the administration has done nothing to solve the transportation issues. Some of them alleged that the ticket system is absurd as the authorities reserve majority of the tickets for their own officials.

“The strike has made life in Lakshadweep miserable with the price of all goods almost doubling. The authorities have not made any arrangement for the transportation. We reached here on Sunday evening with tickets reserved for mv Amindivi. Since the vessel was cancelled we had to spend a whole night in front of the Lakshadweep Bhavan. We were given `180 as compensation. But there is no lodging facility in Kochi at such a small sum,” said Abdullah, an islander studying at a college in Wayanad.

Similarly, some of the patients who came to Kerala for treatment complained that they are not being shown any consideration. “A large number of islanders travel to Kochi seeking medical treatment.

But we are also asked to make our own arrangement for stay if the ship gets cancelled. The authorities are not ready to take up the responsibility,” Beeran, a heart patient from Kavaratti said.

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