New regulations introduced by the administrator of the Lakshadweep islands, Praful Khoda Patel are being widely condemned by the island territory’s people.
The regulation empowers the administrator of the islands to constitute Planning and Development Authorities, the Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDA), under it and develop projects on any area identified as having “bad layout or obsolete development”.
The inhabitants suspect that there might be vested ‘real estate interests’ seeking to usurp the small holdings of property owned by the islanders, behind the regulation and hence have sought to voice their dissent.
The general belief is that the administration is taking advantage of the public’s inability to protest during current times of lockdown, to push ‘arbitrary legislations’ that may not take into consideration the island’s social, political and environmental realities.
Hundreds of islanders have written to the administrator demanding that the proposed regulation be withdrawn, chief among the reasons being the land mass area and high population density. Other concerns include the powers imbalance with the authority which could potentially relocate people regardless of their will, in the interests of new development, destroying communities that have lived on the islands for generations
The 10 inhabited islands of Lakshaweep are currently under lockdown for two months, as the region went from being ‘COVID-free’ initially to recording an increasing number of daily cases.
Online campaigns to save Lakshadweep from these perceived ‘draconian’ regulations are gaining steam, with celebrities including Malayalam actor Prithviraj lending support.
Elamaram Kareem, Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala, has written to President Ramnath Kovind urging him to recall the ‘anti-people’ administrator. Kareem sent in his support against the ‘Lakshadweep Animals Preservation Regulation’ that sought a ban on cattle slaughter and trade, while cancelling the ban on the sale and use of alcohol, which he felt disregarded the islanders’ culture and food habits.
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