Now, cruise from M'lore to Lakshadweep

Long cherished dream

The Lakshadweep Development Corporation will operate its shipping services, fulfilling what had been a long cherished dream of many in the city.

With the vessel setting sail, people travelling from here to Lakshadweep can enjoy the dream-like vista provided by tropical islands—clear waters, coral reefs and marine species—as they cruise through some of the thickest forest covers of the country they had only seen in pictures.

Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a programme here, Lakshadweep tourism co-ordinator in Mangalore Rasheed Bolar said he had approached the district administration in April through Lakshadweep Development Corporation Ltd with a proposal to start a vessel service between Lakshadweep and Mangalore old port.

The Deputy Commissioner had in turn forwarded the proposal to the state and Central governments and received a positive response that resulted in preparations for the first voyage in little more than two weeks.

The first vessel will take tourists to Agatti and Kavaratti and will return on October 16. Rasheed said the tariff for the voyage will be known next week.

Reef route
Since the only coral reef route is on the Western side, Rasheed said tourists would prefer the route from Mangalore, providing a big boost to the city’s tourism industry. The policies of the Kerala government may have helped increase traffic to the islands from Kochi, but many would prefer Mangalore as the launching port for the scenic view.  The new route will also make half-a-dozen islands accessible for those travelling from here, as  Kiltan—the nearest island from Mangalore—is a mere 252 km away and another islet, Minicoy, is 537 km.

The service also reduces the time taken to visit Lakshadweep to just 12 hours. Rasheed said permit to visit the islands can be obtained from Mangalore itself.

The Lakshadweep Development Corporation would operate 21 trips between Mangalore and the islands from October to May, when the service will break for the monsoon season.

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