KOLLAM: Putting an end to a decade-long wait, the government has given its nod to a proposal to operate passenger-cum-cargo ferry services between Kollam Port and Lakshadweep. The move is expected to give a leg up to hospitality, education and healthcare sectors in the state, offering better services to the islanders, who depend on the mainland for almost all their daily needs.
The tourism industry and cargo business are also to benefit from the service. A delegation of elected representatives and top officials is expected to visit Minicoy, the southern most atoll of Lakshadweep soon, to study the potential of the proposed ferry service.
According to Ports Director Sheikh Pareeth, the visit of the delegation has been put on hold as the Assembly session is in progress. The delegation comprising Kollam MLA M Mukesh, Mayor V Rajendrababu, Kollam district panchayat president K Jagadamma, officials from the departments of Ports, Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation and Harbour Engineering will visit Minicoy and hold discussions with the authorities concerned regarding the ferry services. “The Ports Department has already submitted a proposal on the visit of a delegation to Minicoy. As the Assembly session is in progress it has been put on hold. The passenger-cum-cargo ferry service to Minicoy will give a fillip to the tourism and cargo sectors in the state,” said Sheikh Pareeth.
He added that the government is planning to launch ferry services to Lakshadweep from Azheekal Port also. “We are planning to launch similar ferry services from Azheekal Port also. It is an added advantage for the islanders as they will get two additional routes to connect with the mainland. This will ease the traffic at Kochi and Beypore ports. Presently islanders are heavily dependant on Kochi and Beypore ports. The opening of Kollam and Azheekal ports will help to improve connectivity between Lakshadweep and the mainland,” he said.