Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep
If you are planning a beach destination getaway to the Lakshadweep Islands, you’re only way to reach the archipelago by flight is Agatti Airport, built in 1987?88. But the Island Development Agency (IDA), a new government entity established just this year, has decided to built another airport to service the islands and hopefully bring more people to its maritime treasures. ALSO READ: Lakshadweep Explore the Exotic Sunkissed Islands of India Also Read - Indian Navy, ICG Take Precautionary Measures as Cyclone Maha Intensifies Into Severe Cyclonic Storm
The Lakshadweep Islands is lesser explored than India’s other archipelago on its eastern end, Andaman and Nicobar. But with its incredible underwater biodiversity, Lakshadweep has a lot to offer to those willing to travel to its islands. Connectivity is a problem, however. Agatti Airport, located right at the south end of its namesake island, is only really connected to Cochin International Airport in Kerala. By sea, there are seven ships that can take you from Kochi to Lakshadweep. And the passage takes up to 20 hours. Also Read - Andaman Versus Lakshadweep: Where Should You Head Next?
The IDA is looking to develop connectivity and promote tourism initiatives with local partners now. It has reviewed development plans for five islands in the Lakshadweep archipelago: Minicoy, Suheli, Cheriyam, Thinnakara and Bangaram. Of these, Bangaram and Minicoy are the only ones that are accessible in any way. The rest are not. Where there is access, accommodation and travel are limited and expensive. NOW READ: Parali I Island in Lakshadweep Sinks; Heres Why Islands Are Disappearing Also Read - Why You Must Give Diving a Shot at Lakshadweep Islands
As for the airport, a site development potential report has been made and environmentally sensitive zones mapped out. The latter will be importance, since the fragile, beautiful maritime ecosystem of the Lakshadweep Islands are its biggest draw at the moment. As always, a public-private partnership will be tapped to develop the new airport. NITI Aayog has been called upon to formulate partnership projects and author detailed guidelines. It’s all still really early in the development stage, but hopefully the IDA’s plans to boost tourism and support the people of Lakshadweep will turn into reality.