Kochi, July 14 (UNI) Three new passenger ships, each with a capacity of 150, are expected to become operational between the Lakshadweep Islands and the mainland by the end of this year or early next year, the union territory Member of Parliament P P Koya said today.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Koya said that four new high speed tugs, with a capacity of 15 to 20 passengers each, were also expected to be launched shortly. While one of the tugs had already reached the island, three more were expected by the end of this month.The 750-passenger 'M V Kavaratti' was also nearing completion at Visakhapatnam and likely to be commissioned by June next year, he added.
Mr Koya said there were presently only two all-weather ships between the mainland and Lakshadweep -- M V Bharat Seema and M V Tipu Sultan.
Describing the poor transportation facilities between the islands and the mainland a result of ''gross mismanagement'' for the past 40 years, he regretted he was being blamed for these ills even though he had been elected only in 2004.
''Shipping is the lifeline for the islanders. A concerted effort should be made by all concerned to address this problem instead of pointing fingers at each other,'' he added.
UNI ARC MSJJ VC1845