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I wanted to know why Indian citizens need a permit to visit Lakshadweep, and an answer on Quora says:

"To protect the interests of the general public of Lakshadweep, about 95% of whom are Scheduled Tribes, the Administrator has, with previous approval of Central Govt. and in exercise of powers vested under Laccadive, Minicoy & Amindivi Islands (laws) Regulation, 1965, made the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands (Restriction on Entry and Residence) Rules, 1967. As per these rules, every person, who is not a native of these islands, shall have to obtain a permit in the Prescribed Form from the Competent authority, for entering into and residing in these islands". Lakshadweep also has a full-fledged naval base. So, permit adds an additional security layer.

Cited from: Wayback Machine, 2015 archive of the department of revenue and the naval base establishment.

Since the requirement of a permit exists since 2004, and the naval base came up in 2012, it left me wondering if things could have changed as of 2019, that such strict restrictions and permits would not be necessary for a simple vacation to relax, snorkel, kayak and scuba dive?

Some websites say that a police clearance is required from near the residence of the visitor and then another clearance is required from a government department in Kochi. Some people write on their blogs that it's not that much of a hassle to visit. Some recommend the government tour packages, some recommend the private packages, but there's a lack of a clear, step-by-step explanation on how to get the permit and book a vacation to the islands. Could anyone help with providing these steps?

For example:
- Where are the offices located, from where I can obtain the permits? What precautions should I take and what insider information do I need to know to avoid hassles, scams and delays? Both for people who know the local language and for those who don't.
- Is a police verification from a police station close to my house required (if Indian citizen)? What are the procedures followed for this? Hassles, scams, delays, precautions, necessary documents?
- If a resort or agent can arrange for the permits, how to I know which ones can be trusted and where are they located? Precautions, scams, delays, reliability and extra charges?
- If I book one of the government's vacation packages like "Samudram", do they arrange for the permits and police verification or am I expected to do it?
- Any other info that would be helpful for someone who would prefer to follow their own itinerary instead of following what some pre-planned package offers?

A wish I hope could be conveyed to organizers of Lakshadweep tours: To have a simple, reliable online procedure to get the permits and tickets booked, without having to visit any offices and without having to go through any agents. To be able to decide the duration of the stay and activities without having to follow an itinerary decided by someone else.

5

Lakshadweep is remote and undeveloped, so fully independent tourism is not really possible. With the exception of a few places on the main island of Agatti, almost all resorts in the islands are operated by the government-owned Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS). As far as I'm aware there are no hostels, homestays etc.

So if you want a simple procedure, the answer is easy: contact one of the resorts and make a booking, and they'll sort out all the permits for you. (Every one of their guests, Indians included, needs one, so they're quite used to the paperwork.) But if you want fully independent travel, you'll need to find an islander to invite you, and that's going to be a challenge since the population is tiny and.most don't even speak Hindi, much less English.

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  • Even if it's to contact a resort, my query is about clarity on the steps to follow. Is this about resorts on the islands? How are they going to arrange for the police verification? Would they charge a lot? I'm obviously ok with staying at a hotel or resort, but would prefer to arrive & leave on dates of my choice and do scuba diving/kayaking/snorkelling whenever I choose to. Language is not a problem for me. – Nav Nov 16 '19 at 11:49
  • @Nav The resorts handle the paperwork so you don't have to, and the permit costs are baked into the fixed package prices that they offer. And of course you can choose your own dates, transport permitting (Agatti airport has only a few flights per week). – lambshaanxy Nov 16 '19 at 14:29
  • Have you personally done the booking via a resort? I saw some reviews on TripAdvisor, where I'm not sure if it's a resort, but people are promised of a Lakshadweep trip, they pay many months in advance and then travel to Kochi where they are stalled, a part of the money is returned and when they threaten to sue, the entire money is returned. But they don't get to go to Lakshadweep. Hope to get a clear, reliable procedure from someone. – Nav Nov 18 '19 at 19:19
  • @Nav You seem to be looking for some kind of mythical silver bullet. There isn't one: you place your bet and take your chances... or you can go to the Maldives, which has much the same scenery with none of the hassle. – lambshaanxy Nov 19 '19 at 0:14
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    Yes, ideally, a silver bullet solution (that's the last paragraph in italics), but the main question was in bold letters. Basically I'm willing to do all the leg-work to get the permits etc. Just wanted to have a clear picture of it. I've updated the question with specifics, in case anyone could answer it from their experience. – Nav Nov 20 '19 at 2:41

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