Land lease to corporate group for 75 years; Center moves ahead with Lakshadweep tourism project

The central government is moving ahead with tourism projects in Lakshadweep amid rising protests against the move to evict locals. The meeting, chaired by the Union Finance Secretary, approved in principle the tourism projects that have leased land to the corporate group for 75 years. It has been announced that a Rs 806 crore coastal tourism project will be implemented on three islands in Lakshadweep, including the construction of resorts through public-private partnerships. The new reports confirm the concerns of the locals that there may be massive evictions in the name of development. The projects will be overseen by the Finance Commission and the Lakshadweep government.

The plan is to build resorts on the Maldives model with an emphasis on beach tourism and water sports. A total of 370 villas will be built at resorts on the islands of Kadamath, Minicoy and Suheli. Private helipads will also be built to take tourists directly to the resorts. It is said that water villas have been found on 3 islands and 6 hectares each. According to the report, 5.55 hectares of government land has been identified for construction of beach villas, 3.82 hectares in Suheli and 8.53 hectares in two locations in Minicoy.

The new project is being developed near the existing Island Beach Resort on duty. The condition is that the construction of the leased land should be completed within three years and the project should start. Based on this, in the first phase, the qualification was invited in October 2019 but not many people came. Suheli (4), Kadamath (3) and Minicoy (2) were the corporate companies that submitted the certification.

The Central Committee had given some concessions in the tender process after finding that 2 companies each were eligible for the projects in Kadamath and Suheli Islands but could not get anyone qualified to Minicoy. Locals allege that tourism development is being carried out in the name of monopolies, destroying the cultural and social spheres of the region. As a part of this, even though it is a non-alcoholic area, permission has been granted to serve alcohol here. Moreover, various anti-people measures are being taken after the law of Administrator Praful Khoda Patel. There were massive protests against this and the Kerala Legislative Assembly passed the resolution unanimously.

English Summary: central government proceeds with tourism corporate policy in lakshadweep

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