The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated, dedicated to the nation and laid the foundation stone of development projects worth more than Rs 1150 crores in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep today. The development projects of today cover a wide range of sectors including technology, energy, water resources, healthcare and education. The Prime Minister handed out laptops to students under the Laptop Scheme and gave away bicycles to school students under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. He also handed out PM Kisan Credit Cards to farmer and fishermen beneficiaries.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister remarked that the beauty of Lakshadweep is beyond words and mentioned visiting Agatti, Bangaram and Kavaratti to meet the citizens. “Even though the geographical area of Lakshadweep is small, the hearts of the people are as deep as the ocean”, an overwhelmed Prime Minister said as he thanked them for their presence.
The Prime Minister indicated the long neglect of remote, border or coastal and Island areas. “Our government has made such areas our priority”, he said. He congratulated the people of the area for the projects related to infrastructure, connectivity, water, health and child care.
The Prime Minister highlighted the efforts of the government towards the development of Lakshadweep and informed about achieving saturation of PM Awas Yojna (Gramin), free ration being made available to every beneficiary, distribution of PM Kisan Credit Cards and Ayushman Cards, and the development of Ayushman Arogya Mandir Health and Wellness Centre. “The Central Government strives to deliver all government schemes to every beneficiary”, PM Modi said. Referring to the transparency achieved while disbursing money to beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer, the Prime Minister said that it has curbed corruption to a great extent. He assured the people of Lakshadweep that those who tried to snatch away their rights would not be spared at any cost.
The Prime Minister recalled the guarantee given by him in 2020 about ensuring fast internet within 1000 days. Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI – SOFC) project has been dedicated to people today and will ensure 100 times faster Internet for the people of Lakshadweep. This will improve facilities like government services, medical treatment, education and digital banking. The potential of developing Lakshadweep as a logistics hub will get strength from this, he added. Referring to the Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) plant at Kadmat, PM Modi said that the work of providing piped water to every household in Lakshadweep is moving at a fast pace.
Prime Minister Modi spoke about his interaction with renowned Ecologist Shri Ali Manikfan upon his arrival in Lakshadweep and highlighted his research and innovation towards the conservation of the Lakshadweep archipelago. He expressed immense satisfaction towards the present government in awarding Shri Ali Manikfan with the Padma Shree in the year 2021. The Prime Minister underlined that the Central Government is paving the way for the innovation and education of the youth of Lakshadweep as he mentioned handing out laptops and bicycles to students today. The Prime Minister pointed out the absence of any top education institution in Lakshadweep in the previous years which led to an exodus of the youth from the islands. Informing about the steps taken towards opening up institutes of higher education, Shri Modi mentioned the initiation of educational institutions for arts and science in Andrott and Kadmat islands and polytechnic institute in Minicoy. “It is hugely benefitting the youth of Lakshadweep”, he added.
PM Modi mentioned steps taken for the Haj Yatris that have benefited the people of Lakshadweep too. He noted the ease for Haj visa and digitalization of the process for visa and permission for women to go on Haj without ‘Mehram’. These efforts have led to a significant rise in the number of Indians going for ‘Umrah’, he said.
The Prime Minister highlighted India’s effort to increase its share in the global seafood market, leading to benefits for Lakshadweep as local Tuna fish is being exported to Japan. PM Modi underlined the possibilities for export quality local fish that can transform the lives of the fishermen. He also informed about the exploration of the potential of seaweed farming. He emphasized protecting the fragile ecology of the area and said the solar power plant at Kavaratti, which is the first-ever battery-backed solar power project of Lakshadweep is part of such initiatives.
Underlining the role of Lakshadweep in making India a developed nation in the Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal, the Prime Minister mentioned the government’s efforts to place the Union Territory on the international tourism map. He said that Lakshadweep has got international recognition referring to the recently concluded G20 meeting here. Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Prime Minister informed that a destination-specific master plan is being drafted for Lakshadweep. He said that Lakshadweep is home to two blue-flag beaches and mentioned the development of water villa projects on Kadmat and Suheli islands. “Lakshadweep is turning out to be a prime destination for cruise tourism,” Shri Modi said as he informed that the influx of tourists has increased five-fold when compared to five years ago. PM Modi also reiterated his clarion call to the citizens of India to visit at least fifteen places in the country before they decide to visit abroad. He also urged those wanting to visit the island nations in foreign lands to visit Lakshadweep. “Once you witness the beauty of Lakshadweep, other destinations in the world will appear pale”, he added.
The Prime Minister assured the people of Lakshadweep that the central government will continue to take every possible step to ensure their ease of living, ease of travel and ease of doing business. “Lakshadweep will play a strong role in the creation of a Viksit Bharat”, the Prime Minister concluded.
Lieutenant Governor of Lakshadweep, Shri Praful Patel was present on the occasion among others.
In a transformative move, the Prime Minister had resolved to overcome the challenge of slow internet speed in Lakshadweep by initiating the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI – SOFC) project which was announced during the Independence Day speech at Red Fort in 2020. The project has now been completed and was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. This will increase internet speed by more than 100 times (from 1.7 Gbps to 200 Gbps). For the first time since independence, Lakshadweep will be connected through Submarine Optic Fibre Cable. The dedicated submarine OFC will ensure a paradigm shift in communication infrastructure in the Lakshadweep islands, enabling faster and more reliable internet services, telemedicine, e-governance, educational initiatives, digital banking, digital currency usage, digital literacy etc.
The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) plant at Kadmat. This will produce 1.5 lakh litres of clean drinking water every day. The Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation, the Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) in all households of Agatti and Minicoy islands. The availability of potable water was always a challenge in the islands of Lakshadweep as being a coral island, it has minimal ground water availability. These drinking projects will also help in strengthening the tourism capacity of the islands, leading to increased local employment opportunities.
Other projects which are dedicated to the nation include the solar power plant at Kavaratti, which is the first-ever battery-backed solar power project of Lakshadweep. It will help to reduce dependency on the Diesel-based Power Generation plant, the new administrative block and 80 Men barrack in India Reserve Battalion (IRBn) Complex at Kavaratti.
The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the renovation of the Primary Health Care facility in Kalpeni and the construction of five model Anganwadi Centres (Nand Ghars) in the five islands of Androth, Chetlat, Kadmat, Agatti and Minicoy.