KOCHI: Amid protests by various political parties against the reforms introduced by administrator Praful Khoda Patel, the Lakshadweep administration has some good news. Its plan to transform the archipelago into a global tourism destination got a big boost with leading hospitality groups responding overwhelmingly to the Investors' Conference in New Delhi.
Though green activists have raised concerns that the plan to follow the Maldivian model of development would adversely affect the islands’ fragile ecosystem, the administration vows to maintain eco-balance. The plan is to develop water villas and beach villas on the Kadmat, Suheli and Minicoy islands.
The bid for the eco-tourism projects is due on September 17. Successful bidders will get three years for construction and 72 years for the operation and maintenance of the projects.
According to Lakshadweep Collector S Asker Ali, 16 leading groups including The Taj Hotels, Radisson, Oberoi, ITC Hotels and CGH Earth attended the Investors’ Conference held on Thursday and evinced interest in the project.
"The eco-tourism projects are implemented under the aegis of NITI Aayog with a vision to establish a robust base for maritime economic growth through tourism development," he said.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said a scientific approach has been adopted to ensure that the eco-tourism projects strike a balance between protection of the fragile coral ecosystem and the need to improve the islanders' livelihood opportunities. He said clearances required for the projects will be given upfront to ease 'high end, low volume tourism' on the islands.
Minicoy: 150 rooms
Kadmat: 110 rooms
Suheli: 110 rooms
The projects to be developed under public-private partnership on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis