Lakshadweep, 10th January 2024: The Lakshadweep administration has implemented significant measures to simplify the process of visiting the archipelago. In a major move, the mandatory e-permit requirement has been transitioned to a fully online system, and restrictions on tourists from certain areas have been lifted. Previously, travelers, including Indian citizens, had to pay a fee of Rs 200 at a bank and submit the deposit challan to apply for an entry permit. The new online process ensures that permits can now be issued within a day or two.
The demand for improved air connectivity to Lakshadweep is evident as Alliance Air, the sole Indian airline operating to the archipelago, has completely sold out its Kochi-Agatti-Kochi flights—the sole aerial route to the destination—until March. The state-owned airline, currently considering additional flights, operates a daily 70-seater turboprop ATR-72 to Lakshadweep. In contrast, Maldives enjoys about 60 weekly flights from various Indian cities by domestic airlines alone.
Giri Sankar, Lakshadweep’s Additional District Magistrate, stated, “The government, apart from expanding the existing Agatti airport runway, is planning a greenfield airport at Minicoy for A320/B737 type of operations. The expansion of the Agatti runway towards its north side is proposed, with an enlarged shoulder to accommodate larger planes, along with sea platforms. This allows for the seating of up to 189 passengers in an all-economy configuration for B737/A320.”
Sankar further elaborated on tourism development initiatives, stating, “Bangaram, a premium island resort, has seen a doubling of its capacity from 32 to 64 premium rooms. Premium resorts with modern amenities are under construction in Suheli and Kamat Islands. Additionally, new tent cities are being established in Agatti and Kavaratti Islands.” These efforts aim to enhance tourism infrastructure and promote a more accessible and enjoyable experience for visitors to Lakshadweep.