: The Lakshadweep Citizens Forum for Justice will hold a padayatra from October 2 to January 26 aimed at educating the islanders on how to ensure their rights and fight denial of justice by the administration.

Stating that the forum members would travel across various islands in Lakshadweep beginning from Bitra island and ending at Kavaratti, K.P. Thangalkoya Thangal, general convener of the organisation, said here on Wednesday that major issues to be taken up for discussion among the public include the Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the Lakshadweep administration and the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences to run a specialty hospital at the Rajiv Gandhi Specialty Hospital in Agatti.

Alleging that the agreement was in violation of the observations made by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Mr. Thangal said the senior government official had mentioned in her letter to the Administrator, Office of the Mission Director (National Rural Health Mission) at Kavaratti that the Memorandum of Understanding appears to be very expensive and cannot be justified.

He said the Ministry had also pointed out that the package asked by the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences was approximately Rs.70 lakh monthly, which would imply that the Union Territory of Lakshadweep would have to pay a whopping Rs.60 lakh for 10 specialists.

P. Atta Koya, former chairman of the Chetlat island panchayat, accused the former Lakshadweep administrator J.K. Dadoo of misusing his powers while acting against the interests of the islanders. We will soon submit a memorandum to the President of India demanding a high-level inquiry into the decisions taken by the former administrator that had caused huge loss to the exchequer, he said.

Referring to the transportation problems being faced by the islanders, K.P. Muthu, president of the Lakshadweep Passengers Welfare Forum, said the reservation of a major chunk of seats in the ships to the island for tourists had added to the problems being faced by the common man.

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