Shipping Services as the life line:
The Shipping services is the life line of the people of Lakshadweep. Fishing, coconut plantation and coir twisting are the only means of livelihood of the islanders. There is no agriculture activity in the islands sufficiently to meet the day today requirements of the people. Hence all food articles, grains, cereals, vegetables are transported from Mainland. Similarly there is no major industrial activity in the islands other than some small cottage industry or small scale industry. Thus all commodities like building materials, fuel, clothing, are also transported from Mainland. The people have to depend upon the mainland for medical facilities as well since there are no major hospitals except one referral hospital at the headquarter island, Kavaratti. In the field of education also there are no higher education centres above the level of plus two. Hence, the people perforce have to travel to the Mainland or from one island to other island for receiving medical treatment or for education. Shipping services are the primary means of transportation of men and material between the islands and Mainland as well as in the Inter-island sectors. At present the administration is having 12 ships/vessels and one dauphin helicopter.
The shipping services is broadly classified in to two categoriesMainland-Island Transport
The present services in this sector are from Kochi, Beypore and occasionally from Mangalore Ports to Lakshadweep islands and vice versa. Five vessels are operating in this sector. The two ships, MV Amindivi and MV Tipisultan are the only all-weather ships operating this sector. The other three are fair weather ships which are operated during October-May. M.V.Dweep Setu is exclusively operating from Beypore Port to Lakshadweep islands. One 700 passenger cum 160 MT cargo ship is under construction which is expected to be inducted into service during 2004.
The inter-island traffic is also transported by the above Five ships as well as by two catamaran type inter-island ferries each of 100 passenger capacity. Some times the passengers also travel by smaller launches/mechanised vessels when proper means of transport are not available.
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