KOCHI: In a major development initiative ignoring recent protests, the Lakshadweep administration on Sunday invited global tenders for building eco-tourism beach villas and water villas in Kadamat, Minicoy and Suheli islands at an estimated total project cost of Rs 813 crore.
Bids were invited from hospitality companies from around the world for establishing and running a total of 370 rooms -- 230 in beach villas and 140 in water villas - in the three islands, in private-public partnership mode for 75 years, including three years for construction of the resorts. The bid due date is September 2.
The biggest project, as per the tender, will come up in Minicoy, where the administration has invited bids for 110 rooms beach villas and 40 rooms water villas at a total cost of Rs 319 crore. At Suheli and Kadmat islands, the plan is to construct a total of 110 rooms each -- beach villas (60 rooms each) and water villas (50 rooms each) at a project cost of Rs 247 crore per island.
The administration said the project has to be run on design, build, finance, operate and transfer mode on a public-private partnership basis.
The invitation for global bids by the government comes disregarding warning by experts that the "Maldives model" of tourism development would wreak havoc in Lakshadweep islands' fragile coral ecosystem.
However, the Lakshadweep administration, in a release said, a joint survey consisting of representatives from National Centre for Sustainable Costal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and NITI Aayog, visited Lakshadweep during November 2018 for site assessment and confirmation. "The total number of keys (rooms) for water villas to be developed conferred to the carrying capacity numbers assessed by NCSCM, which was further strengthened by the holistic development master plan," the release said.