First barge from Mangaluru reaches Lakshadweep with essential items

Kochi: An administration-owned barge docked at the Lakshadweep islands with essential items from Mangaluru.

The barge, Thinnakara, made its maiden voyage from Mangaluru to the archipelago, discarding the strong sentiments of islanders against the Lakshadweep administration avoiding the Beypore port.

Thinnakara unloaded the essentials at the northern inhabited islands, Kadamat, Kiltan and Chetlat. The islanders have been dependent on Beypore for essential items, including provisions. Though such items were taken from Kochi also, Beypore was the preferred port due to the shorter distance from the islands.

Shortage of space, and non-availability of berths at Beypore have been adversely affecting the loading and unloading activities.

The decision to depend on Mangaluru more was made since the port is closer to the northern islands than Beypore, which helps in saving money and time. Authorities said the barge set sail after taking in the cargo in 17 hours, whereas Beypore required six to seven days.

The barge saved 200 metric tonnes of fuel and 15-20 hours of travel time in its first Mangaluru-Lakshadweep voyage, authorities said. Additionally, Mangaluru offers more basic facilities and security than Beypore, they added.

The Lakshadweep administration, meanwhile, is preparing to commence passenger ship service between the islands and Mangaluru.

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