THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Kollam port being developed to handle coastal shipping, an old proposal to launch a passenger ship service between Kollam and Minicoy in the Lakshadweep archipelago is being dusted up by the Ports Department.
The department has written to the Lakshadweep Administration asking whether it was still interested in the Minicoy-Kollam project.
“We are looking into the possibility and have written to the administration of the Union Territory,” Captain Hari Achutha Warrier, deputy director, Ports, said.
“The proposal was there some years ago, but it was dropped,” he said.
Traditionally, Lakshadweep’s connections with the mainland have been through Kochi and Beypore ports. But Minicoy, a small atoll at the southernmost end of the archipelago, is closer to Kollam than to either Kochi or Beypore.
Maliku, in local parlance, Minicoy is made up of two islands and has a population of roughly 10,000. It takes around 15 hours to travel between Minicoy and Kochi, but Kollam can be reached in 10 hours, which is the big attraction of a shipping service between the two places.
The Ports Department is developing Kollam port as part of the ambitious coastal shipping project.
Encouraging cargo movement between this old town and Vallarpadam in Kochi constitutes phase I of the project. The port has already started receiving cargo vessels and the first passenger vessel is scheduled to call at Kollam by September, according to Ports Minister K Babu.
In 2009 and 2010, delegations from Lakshadweep had visited Kollam as part of establishing a third port link with Kerala.
Reportedly, Lakshadweep Administration had entertained ideas of investing in the development of this small port.
But the proposals had come to nought at the time.