India has outlined a infrastructure enhancement plan worth over Rs 3,600 crore to transform the Lakshadweep islands into a tourist destination, encompassing the development of additional ports, peripheral roads, and beachfront facilities, among other initiatives, according to a report from The Economic Times.
The same report further states, "Port infrastructure will be upgraded at Androth, Kalpeni, and Kadamat islands. Additionally, beachfront and peripheral roads will be constructed at Kadamat Island (East), Agatti Island (East), and Kavaratti Island."
Funding for these projects, along with others, will be sourced from the Sagarmala scheme, aimed at the development of ports, the official further elaborated.
Launched in July 2015, Sagarmala is the primary central sector scheme of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways aimed at fostering port-led development across the country.
It focuses on leveraging India's extensive coastline, navigable waterways, and strategic maritime location on international trade routes. Under Sagarmala, financial assistance is extended to projects with high social impact but limited returns or low internal rates of return.
A total of 13 projects have been identified for the 36 Lakshadweep islands, covering an area of 32 square kilometres and situated 220-440 km off the Kerala coast in the Arabian Sea.
In her interim budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had highlighted the need to bolster tourism infrastructure and amenities on islands, including Lakshadweep, to cater to the growing interest in domestic tourism and generate employment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Lakshadweep in early January and subsequent social media posts showcasing the region's beauty drew attention. However, derogatory comments made by three Maldivian deputy ministers about the Prime Minister sparked outrage, prompting calls for a boycott of the Maldives and suggesting Lakshadweep as an alternative destination.
Despite its natural allure, Lakshadweep currently lacks sufficient infrastructure to accommodate large numbers of tourists.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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