Closure of resorts in Lakshadweep and the sad plight of ex-employees

Closure of resorts in Lakshadweep and the sad plight of ex-employees
Savita Venugopal, Kochi – 29 Mar, 2012

(A background note on the unemployment problems emerged on the closure of resorts in Lakshadweep is given below).

It is a fact known to the Lakshadweep Islanders, the tourists to this exotic destination alike that the resorts in the Lakshadweep Islands were closed one by one.

The authorities never gave any due consideration before such closure. The devastating effects of such closure directly to the tourists, the exchequer, the tour operators, the employees who will be thrown to the streets, none was their concern.

It would appear that they did all these, as if they are waging a war! The war? With whom? With the resort owners, its workers and above all the tourists who really generate huge income out of tourism. The ego-centric authorities considered all these groups are their ‘enemies’. When they won in ‘taking in the enemies’, they destroyed the entire profitably running ‘tourism scenario of Lakshadweep’.

The right wisdom is ‘not to give a sharp sword to a made monkey’. All the above problems in the Lakshadweep developed as the concerned officials in the top forgot to follow this valuable dictum.

Bangaram Resort was the first victim. The authorities have many reasons of their own, to justify their action in its closure. Later, the Agatti Island Beach Resort was ordered to be closed. Recently, the remaining resort of a renowned reputation – The Seashells has also been closed.

In the initial stage the work force for the resorts were selected from the islanders themselves. They were given necessary training by the entrepreneurs and later taken in as regular employees of the upcoming resorts. In course of time, they became experienced and expert staff capable of rendering satisfactory services to the guests. Their efficiency has been well acknowledged by the managements of the resorts.

Majority of such employees had to their credit, about two decades of meritorious service.

When the Bangaram Resort was closed by CGH Earth Group (Casino Hotels), they pulled out their assets but very cunningly abandoned their staff. Literally they were sent to the streets. Having spent the majority of their lives as employees of the resorts, and unaware of other professional skills, these employees fumbled before their fate.

Other resorts in the Lakshadweep Islands were also closed down gradually under various reasons. The managements or the Lakshadweep officials never thought of the difficulties encountered by the employees when the resorts were closed.

It is estimated that there are around 80 persons who were thrown out of direct-employment. They are struggling hard to support their family members and provide a minimum level of sustenance.

Their case, in fact, is very deplorable. They spent most of their life as employees of the resorts, as cooks, waiters, stewards, pastry/baker chefs, housekeeping staffs etc… They were striving hard for a living, eschewing the hardships amidst their hard and long working hours.

Closure of the resorts was an unexpected blow and shock for them. Although these poor people deserve sympathy in all respects, no one has so far come forward to take up their sorrowful story before the appropriate authorities and get remedies for their agonies.

The Lakshadweep being a Union Territory, it will only be a humanitarian act on the part of the Government of India to take appropriate initiatives to provide suitable employment avenues to these islanders, who are highly experienced in their various professional cadres, preferably in the Lakshadweep Islands or alternatively in the main land.

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Savita Venugopal, Kochi – 29 Mar, 2012

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