| Till 1958-59,Odam (sailing vessel) was the only mode of surface communiction between the islands and Mainland. Each Odam made one or two voyages a year to the mainland with copra and coir and returned to the islands with rice, sugar, provisions etc. Till 1962-63, chartered ships were in service between the islands and between the mainland and islands. They could not operate during monsoon months(May to September). The Administration's own vessel,M.V. Laccadives,with a capacity of 49 passengers and 40 tonnes cargo began service in December,l966. The major breakthrough came in 1970 with the launching of an all-weather ship M.V.Amindivi and the dreadful isolation of the islands during the monsoon was broken. The vessel had facilities for 242 passengers in fair season and 202 in monsoon period and capacity to carry 800 tonnes cargo. With the increase of the developmental efforts of the Government and increase of population it was found that the two ships were inadequate to cope with the increased traffic. In 1982 owing to special interest shown by the Honb'le Prime Minister,another ship M.V.Bharathseema was acquired by the Administration and put in operation in July,l982. Inter island surface communication was also improved to a noticeable extent with the arrival of the new ship. A ferry vessel Viz. M.V.Deep Setu has been received by the Lakshadweep Administration for inter island trips and this has increased the carrying capacity of the ships plying in Lakshadweep waters by 150 passengers and the cargo capacity by 25 tonnes. Since the Ship Amindivi has completed its guarantee period, it is replaced by another ship Viz.M.V.Tippu Sultan with a passenger capacity of 658 which began service in
Two catamaran type high speed inter Island Ferry Vessels Khadeeja Beevi and Hameedath Beevi began its operation during January,1992 which helped to meterialise the long cherished need of the islanders in inter island traffic to a considerable extent and brought the islands closer. Out of the four bigger mechanised cargo vessels planned during the Eighth Five Year Plan, the following three barges have been commissioned and the fourth barge is likely to be commissioned during 1996.
(a) M.V. Ubaidulla 03.05.1993
(b) M.V.Tinnakara 06.11.1993
(c) M.V.Laccadives 10.03.1995
(d) M.V.Cheriyam 24.05.1997
Although greater achievements were made in surface communication,the loading/unloading facilities from ship to shore and embarkation/disembarkation to and fro the ship remain the same. These activities take place in the open sea. The risk involved is such that anything may happen at any time while loading/unloading and embarkation/disembarkation.
Difficulties experienced at the time of emergencies like evacuation of serious cases to the mainland, import of life saving drugs etc.,particularly during monsoons, have eased when a Helicopter service between mainland and island and inter island was started on 31st January 1987. The Private Airlines has stoped its service and Indian Airlines have started operation from 4.7.97.
Port Control Tower at Kavaratti, Andrott,Minicoy and Kadmatt have already started functioning, on other islands construction work are on progress and likely to
be complete in coming year.
Computerised Railway ticket reservation has been installed at Kavaratti, Minicoy and Andrott and at Kavaratti it has been commissioned on 5th Dec. 1997 and in the remaining two islands it is yet to start functioning.
Low power T.V transmitters are working in all inhabited islands except Bitra. National programmes as well as Malayalam regional programmes are covered in all the islands. In addition , metro channel is covered in Kavaratti only.
Satellite Earth Stations have already been commissioned in Kavaratti, Minicoy, Agatti, Kiltan, Kalpeni and Andrott Islands which provide long distance communication circutes to all the Islands in Lakshadweep Via terrestrial Microwave links. All the Satellite stations are now working with Thaicom III Satellite. Kavaratti and Minicoy Stations have FM FDM systems providing sufficient trunk circutes for Kavaratti,Minicoy,Kadmath,Agatti and Amini Islands. Other Satellite stations have SCPC systems which will be replaced with the latest digital IDR equipments in the near future. Dedicated telegraph channels to telegraph offices, Railway reservation and Telex facilities are available in Kavaratti and Minicoy Islands. Naval Detachment unit at Kavaratti has a hot line to Kochi. Fax facilities available in all the islands and all islands enjoy the facilities of STD and Group Dialing system.
The National Informatic Centre is a Central Govt. Organisation under the Ministry of Information Technology, government of India. It has set up it's unit at Kavaratti during the Year 1988 and subsiquently the othe rtwo units at Minicoy and Lakshadweep Office,Kochi in the Year 1990 and 1991 respectively.
All the other Islands and Liaison Office,New Delhi except Bitra have been brought under the NICNET, the communication net work of NIC,in the Year 1995 as a paid project of the Administration of UT of Lakshadweep,since then the administration could
establish a stable,swift and accurate information transmission through computer communication link between its capital Island Kavaratti and all Central Ministries/Departments and its sbordinates Offices in all Islands and Liaison office, New Delhi.
By the Year 1997,all Departments of the Administration have been provided with Nicmail/E-mail facilities and thereby not only further accelerated the communication link but the Lakshadweep is also linked each other by this facility.
The GIST Booth is also functional with all latest information of direct relevence to the public pertaining to 17 diverse subject stored in the Super Computer at NIC(HQ),New Delhi.
Full fledged Internet is established at NIC,Kavaratti and it is being established in all school in the Island, this would definitly be a fascinating experiance for the people of Lakshadweep.
Since the Lakshadweep Times is transformed as a daily news paper,the news items of exotic nature are also being provided to the Department of information and Publicity by the NIC.
The NIC could cultivate computer culture amoung the Officers and Staff of the administration by giving them training as a regular feature and 324 officials are trained in the year under report.
An All India Radio station for Lakshadweep has been commissioned during 1993-94 as a medium of communication with the people.