Lakshadweep : The Turquoise Blue Paradise
Our wonderful nation is full of surprises and over last two days, I have been overwhelmed by the idyllic beauty of one such best kept secrets of incredible India– the mesmerising islands of Lakshadweep. Friends, I had a beautiful start to the year 2022, as I happened to be in Lakshadweep, which I must say is one of the most enchanting places in the world for sheer natural beauty and serenity. It is a joy to be surrounded by the vast expanse of turquoise blue water, canopying palm trees, white sand shores and the clear blue skies. Lakshadweep, which translates into ‘A hundred thousand islands’ in both Sanskrit and Malayalam, comprises 36 islands, of which 10 are inhabited. Each of these islands has its own unique charm but one common strand which binds them is their exquisite beauty. For my three-day official visit to Lakshadweep, I stayed at the bewitchingly beautiful Bangaram island. Bangaram, a teardrop shaped uninhabited island in Lakshadweep has been ranked among the best getaways of the world. While the crystal clear water, sparkling coral reefs, lush coconut groves and pleasant sea breeze add to the charm of the island, what left me awestruck was the hypnotisi” sight of its bio-luminescent bay which glows in dark. The gorgeous bluish glow that is seen at some of the shores is due to the presence of bio-luminescence in the water.
The pristine beauty and unique natural aspects of Lakshadweep islands make it an ideal tourist destination. It is praiseworthy that the Lakshadweep administration has been putting consistent efforts towards protecting the coastal environment while promoting tourism. It is commendable that the Union Territory of Lakshadweep has consciously followed a middle path between tourism promotion and environmental conservation. Other tourist destinations must emulate Lakshadweep and take steps towards encouraging eco-tourism. I would also like to urge tourists to travel responsibly keeping the well-being of the local people and nature in mind. I would particularly like to laud the people of Lakshadweep for their role in keeping the islands clean. I was told that Lakshadweep is swiftly moving towards 100 per cent shift to green energy in a span of two years. I would like to compliment the administration for its commitment towards protection of environment. Friends, as we know, climate change is real and the multiple effects of global warming are threatening the ecosystems of the entire planet. The rising sea level, storm surges, flooding and coastal erosion pose a great threat to the inhabitants of various islands across the world. It is unfair that these small islands whose percentage of overall emissions, is minimal, pay the price for the negligence of big nations. All countries must put in consolidated efforts to limit global temperature levels, so that these beautiful islands and their sublime beauty stays intact and the homes of the islanders do not get displaced. Lakshadweep has a very unique and fragile ecosystem and a rich variety of flora and fauna. The warm tropical climate and high relative humidity is conducive for good plant growth. Coconut palms, Vazha, Colocassia, Chambu, Drumsticks, Breadfruit, Chakka, Tropical Almond and Banyans are widely found in the region. The marine life in Lakshadweep is quite diverse too: colourful coral fishes such as Parrot fish, Butterfly fish and Surgeon fish are found in abundance around the islands. The rich local fish fauna has been supporting the livelihoods of generations of people from the region. I was happy to know that there has been a steady growth in fish production in the region. I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the multi-pronged efforts made by the government to support this sector. To give a boost to the fishing sector, our scientists and researchers must come up with energy efficient fishing systems for responsible fishing. In Lakshadweep, owing to geographical constraints, education is one area that faces huge challenges. Despite many difficulties I am happy to note that Lakshadweep has one of the highest literacy rates in the country and this is truly commendable. Today, to make education and learning much more accessible in the islands, I was delighted to be at Kadmat to inaugurate the Government Arts & Science Colleges, Kadmat and Androth. I am confident that these colleges will give a boost to higher education in the area. Friends, my visit to Lakshadweep is memorable in many ways, be it experiencing the mesmerising beauty of the islands, the warm hospitality of the people or the unique natural aspects of the area. We cannot deny that India has the best of everything when it comes to tourism. Be it the mighty Himalayas, the architectural wonders of Rajasthan, the crystal clear lakes in Himachal Pradesh, the spiritual getaways in Uttarakhand, the incredible beaches of Goa, the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, the wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh, the tea gardens and breath-taking sights of the hills of the north east or scenic beauty of the Rann of Kutch. Friends, I would urge you to travel widely in India to experience the diverse and beautiful aspects of our great motherland better. But remember, when you travel, you must take care to travel sustainably without harming any aspect of the environment. In the end I would like to wish all of you a very happy new year 2022, filled with joy, good health, success and prosperity!