In order to develop Kollam Port as the main link from Minicoy to mainland India, the Lakshadweep Administration has expressed willingness to make a substantial financial investment. An official team from the Lakshadweep Administration led by the Director of Ports, M.S. Syed Ismail Koya had visited the Kollam Port complex last week and expressed satisfaction with its geographical location and other natural features of the port.

The team then had a detailed discussion with the Lakshadweep Administrator J.K. Dadoo and the willingness to make the investment was expressed after this discussion. The investment will mainly be for a passenger terminal with dormitory facilities and an office facility for providing guidance to the people of Minicoy reaching here.

Another high level team from Lakshadweep comprising representatives of the people will be arriving here on December 15 as a follow up measure. The stress will be on passenger ships. It is also understood that the Minister of Ports, M. Vijayakumar is likely to visit Lakshadweep in this connection.

Minicoy, a 10.6 km long island, has a population of around 12,000 having a high literacy rate and the majority affluent. Once the sea link is established, Kollam is poised to become the gateway to higher education for the people of Minicoy, Mr. Pareeth said. In this connection, the Lakshadweep team had also expressed satisfaction with the higher education facilities available in and around Kollam. There is already a strong student community from Minicoy in Kollam.

The Ports Special Officer, Kerala, P.I. Shiekh Pareeth told THE HNDU that interest in the Kollam Port was expressed by the Lakshadweep Administration after Mr. Vijayakumar held talks with the concerned officers from the Lakshadweep Administration.

The minister wanted the Lakshadweep Administration to utilize all the port facilities in the State. In this context Kollam Port was seen as the ideal location for Minicoy to maintain link with the mainland. The distance of just 200 nautical miles between the two locations is being seen as the most favourable aspect.

Mr. Pareeth said that the passenger ships to Minicoy will be fully operated by the Lakshadweep Administration and the latter has ships for the purpose. He also said that the talks comprised operation of cargo ships too to Minicoy. There is likelihood that before the start of passenger ship operations from Minicoy, a cargo ship carrying consumer items and construction materials will leave from here to Minicoy, Mr. Pareeth said.

More In: Kerala | National