KOCHI: The proposed new rules in Lakshadweep are aimed at the betterment of the islanders and a misinformation campaign is being unleashed by some vested interests to portray the administration in poor light, S Asker Ali, the Collector of the Union Territory said here.
In the first official response after the controversy over sweeping new rules in Lakshadweep emerged, Ali told a news conference in Kochi that though Maldives and Lakshadweep have similar features, the former was miles ahead in terms of tourism growth. "The idea is to propel tourism in Lakshadweep islands, helping the local economy and providing better jobs for the people," he said.
"The things (protests) that are happening right now do not reflect the sentiment of the residents of the islands," he said.
On the proposal to allow alcohol sales and consumption in the islands, Ali clarified that alcohol availability will be restricted only for the tourism industry.
Explaining the initiatives by the administration, the collector said new hospitals are being set up at Kavaratti, Minicoy and Agatti while internet connectivity is boosted through the submarine optical fibre cable network. The Agatti airport is being modernised, he said.
The removal of meat in the mid-day meal scheme is to include fish which is readily available on the island. "This will also help the local fishermen, who could find ready demand for their catch," Ali said. Instead of meat, egg and fish have been included in the mid-day meal scheme.
On the Goonda Act, he said though the island is relatively peaceful, there has been a trend of growing crime rates. The aim is to nip such criminal tendencies in the bud.
On the Covid front, he said the administration has vaccinated nearly all the people in six islands. Efforts are also on to establish oxygen plants in the island, the Collector said.