ANI Photo | Amid row over Maldivian posts on PM Modi’s visit, Lakshadweep plans tourism expansion

Amid the row over the disparaging remarks by Maldivian ministers and government officials against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his recent visit to Lakshadweep, the administration in the Indian archipelago stated it was working on plans to expand its tourism activities.
Social media posts by some Maldivian junior ministers and government officials, making distasteful references to PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit and his call for harnessing its tourism potential, sparked online fury and a flurry of cancellations of scheduled visits to the island country.
Amid the furore over the unsavoury references to PM Modi and unsolicited comparisons between beach tourism in the Maldives with that of India, New Delhi summoned the Maldivian envoy Ibrahim Shaheeb, who was seen leaving the Ministry of External Affairs in the national capital’s South Block.
The Maldivian ambassador was seen arriving at the MEA office building and leaving a short while later.
According to officials in the Union Territory, several proposals have been sent to the Union government to harness the latent tourism potential in the island cluster.
While there is an airstrip in Agatti islands currently, plans are afoot to build a larger airport that can accommodate Airbus-type aircraft in Minicoy Island. Hotel projects are also in varying stages of implementation in several virgin islands under the Smart City project, in a bid to draw more tourists from across the country and overseas.
Minicoy Island, a picturesque strip of land surrounded by pristine blue waters, is believed to be at the heart of the tourism expansion plans of the Lakshadweep administration. It is situated in the vicinity of the Maldives.
As part of the ongoing tourism promotion, liquor sales are now permitted at designated locations with the approval of the Tourism department. A non-fermented toddy from coconut trees called Neera is also produced locally.
Lakshadweep is home to a total of 36 islands, of which only ten are inhabited. The main occupations of the people in the island cluster are fishing and coconut farming, with some also engaged in cattle rearing in some parts of the UT.
Men primarily engage in fishing while women are largely involved in making a range of products from coconut and fish. Women’s self-help groups are also common in these islands. The inhabitants of Lakshadweep largely depend on other states for their daily necessities.
Travel to Lakshadweep from other parts of the country is facilitated either by ship or flight, with Air India Alliance conducting daily services from Kochi to Lakshadweep. Ship and chopper services are also available.
However, those wishing to visit Lakshadweep must obtain prior permission from the administration of the UT.
However, the lack of hospitals is a significant drawback for the Lakshadweep islands. Residents often have to travel to Kochi for better treatment.
Similarly, for higher education, they have to rely on Kerala and other states

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