PORT DEPARTMENT

GENERAL

Lakshadweep is the only atolls of our Country surrounded by vast sea. It has lagoon area of 4,200 Sq. km. , territorial water of  20,000 Sq. km. and it accounts for 4,00,000 Sq. km. of  total Exclusive Economic Zone of the Country. The literal meaning of Lakshadweep is one lakh islands. However, actually there are 36 islands with a total area of 32 Sq. km. It consists of 12 atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks. The inhabited islands   are  Kavaratti (3.63 Sq. km.), Minicoy (4.37 Sq. km.), Kalpeni (2.28 Sq.km., Andrott (4.84 Sq. km.), Agatti (2.71  Sq. km.), Amini (2.59 Sq.km.), Kadmat (3.13 Sq.km.), Kiltan (1.63 Sq.km.), Chetlat (1.04 Sq.km.) and Bitra (0.10  Sq.km.).   The total population of the islands, as per 1991 Census is 51,707. The   Bangaram island with an area of 0.58 Sq.km.  has   now been developed as a tourist resort and as per 1991 census has been enumerated as having population of 61 persons. 93 % of population are indigenous who are all Muslims and have conservative customs. Malayalam is spoken in all the islands  except   Minicoy where people speak Mahl, which is written in Divehi Script and is spoken in Maldives also. These islands lie about 220 to 440 km. from coastal city of Kochi in Kerala between 80 Deg. 13' North latitude and 71 Deg. and 74 Deg. East longitude. All the islands except Andrott have, on the Western side, a lagoon, which offers a natural protection to the islands from the open sea.

This Union Territory was formed in 1956 and it was named Lakshadweep in 1973. This is the tiniest   Union Territory with administrative  Headquarter at Kavaratti  Island. The Administrator is the Head of the Union Territory. Each island has democratically  elected "Island(Dweep) Panchayat". At the Union Territory level, there is a "District Panchayat" having members elected from each Island.

 The entire indigenous population, because of their economic and social  backwardness,  has been classified as Scheduled Tribes. The native of Lakshadweep who and both of whose parents were born in these islands are treated as Scheduled 

Tribes. There is no Scheduled Castes in this Union Territory. The main  occupations of the people are fishing, coconut cultivation and coir twisting. Tourism is an emerging industry. Lakshadweep has a tropical climate, with summer temperature ranging from 35 to 22 deg. C, and winter temperature between 32 to 20 deg. C.  There   is prohibition of using alcohol in all islands except the international tourist islands, namely Bangaram.

 2. PASSENGER SERVICES

 (a) Shipping services is the lifeline of the socio-economic activities of the Lakshadweep Islanders and a vital requirement for the development of these islands. The following are the details of passenger ships in operation at the moment.  

Sl.No

Name of Ship

Passenger Capacity

Cargo Capacity

Cabin

Deck

Total

1

M.V.Bharat Seema

40

348

388

160

2

M.V.Tipu Sultan

134

524

658

Nil

3

M.V.Deep Setu

Nil

140

140

25

4

M.V.Amindivi

Nil

150

150

25

5

M.V.Minicoy

Nil

150

150

25

6

M.V.Khadeeja Beevi

Nil

100

100

Nil

7

M.V.Hameedath Bee

Nil

100

100

Nil

Of the above Sl. No. 1 &2 are all weather passenger ships. Sl.No.3  ,4 &5 are   fair weather passenger ship  operating between mainland and islands and inter-island. Sl.No.6 & 7 are purely fair weather ferries operating in the inter-island sector.

M.V.Amindivi  started its service on 25th August 2001 after being flagged off from Koichi by Hon  Home Minister, Shri.L.K.Advani  . M.V.Minicoy had her first voyage on 19th October 2001.

 (b) The existing fleet is very old. M.V. Tipu Sultan and M.V. Bharat Seema would be competing their economic life span by 2003 and 2004 respectively. M.V. Dweep Setu which is an Indian built ship would be completing her economic life span by 2004. On completion of her economic life M.V. Bharat Seema was refitted   during  1997-98 to extend her life by another five years. M.V. Tipu Sultan had major engine repair at Colombo during  August October 2000.

 The two catamarans namely M.V. Khadeeja Beevi and M.V. Hameedath  Bee  are aluminum hulled vessels and are not fully compatible to the sea condition prevailing in the Lakshadweep islands. They  are  able to operate only in the inter island sector 

 (c) There are no ports or wharfs in the islands to which the ships/cargo barges can be taken for embarkation/disembarkation of passengers/cargo. These activities have to take place in the open sea where the passengers have to be off-loaded into small boats/tugs and cargoes into dumb barges. This is a potentiality dangerous situation, especially during the monsoon period. There have been instances of boats with passengers capsizing and cargoes being lost overboard in the swelling and turbulent waters. With a view to facilitate passenger and cargo safety, breakwaters  are being  constructed  by the Lakshadweep Harbour Works at   Andrott  and have constructed small berth capable of berthing small ships like M.V.Amindivi , M.V. Minicoy and Cargo Barges. The breakwater at Kalpeni   is under construction and nearing completion. 

 (d)One 700 cum 160 MT Cargo ship is presently under construction at Hindustan Shipyard Limited at an estimated cost of Rs.129.62 crores which is expected to be delivered during 2003.

S.No

Name of Ship

Passenger Capacity

Cargo (MT)

Building Yard

Date of Delivery

1

M.V.Lakshadweep

700

160

HSL

2003

3. CARGO TRANSPORT

                        Cargo transportation is as important as passenger movement as all essential goods are to be brought from Mainland. At present the administration is having four cargo barges for mainly for transporting  Government cargo. Private MSVs are also playing a major role in the transport of cargo during fair season. Present Cargo fleet of the administration is as follows

Sl.No

Name of Ship

Cargo Capacity (MT)

1

M.V.Tinnakara

500

2

M.V.Ubaidulla

500

3

M.V.Cheriyam

500

4

M.V.Laccadives

500

5

M.B.Suheli

60

4. AIR  TRANSPORT

The Department is also operating a helicopter chartered  from Pawan Hans Helicopter  Limited to be used as an air Ambulance for emergency medical evacuations and also for inter-island passenger service during monsoon when the normal modes of inter-island transport is not available. Depending upon the availability the helicopter also provide connectivity to Agatti on a daily basis for the benefit of passengers traveling  in the Indian Airlines service being operated in the Kochi- Agatti route.