Lakshadweep: Praful Khoda Patel’s proposals will destroy life of the people, warn experts

Mohini Giri, Wajahat Habibullah, Syeda Hameed, write to Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, to halt implementation of LDAR 2021


Mohini Giri, Former Chair National Commission for Women; Wajahat Habibullah, Former Administrator of Lakshadweep and Chair National  Commission for Minorities and Syeda Hameed, Former Member Planning Commission I/C Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, eminent citizens, experts on demographics and policy of the Lakshadweep archipelago and human rights, have written to M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India bring to his attention the ongoings crisis in the Union Territory. The experts also sent a copy of the letter to Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammed Khan, stating that the recent policy changes, which were “proposed unilaterally and arbitrarily, have given no consideration to matters like land use, land ownership, ocean resource utilisation and livelihood practices of the community.” 

They write that they fear that the recent plans of Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR) “will destroy the islands, the life and the livelihood of the island people.” The three experts have all been a part of various government appointed offices and have been observers of the developments of the archipelago for decades. They write that the “ethnic community structure of this unique land lying afloat the mighty Arabian Sea” has withstood the “vagaries of the ocean and weather” and mention that many studies have proven how the “stability of the coral reefs that protect the islands has been maintained by the lifestyle and culture of the community which lives there. The island people have found a way to cope with the limitations of land and fresh water availability. Their social fabric is built on an ecosystem based economy linked to fishing and anchored in the cooperation, tolerance, acceptance and mutual dependence which exists there.”

Insult to injury is added they stated as “the culture and traditions of the people who live there have been violated by intervention into their food ethos (beef ban, opening liquor shops etc). Their traditional methods of decision-making of democratic decentralisation are poised to be torn apart by these changes.”

The carrying capacity of the 32 square km area of the inhabited islands, will be “stretched to the limit by indiscriminate expansion of tourism and the various projects proposed under the euphemistic title of ‘Planning and Development’,” they write, adding that “this will destroy the life of the people.”

“We condemn this move of an individual who holds a position of authority in a politically and geographically sensitive area,” they warned that a “law and order situation will likely result from all the above stated arbitrary and irresponsible moves” and urged the VP to “halt the implementation of LDAR 2021 and other repressive orders that are underway”. They asked that the “urgent review in consultation with local bodies” be set up. “The changes being proposed are stated to be for the ‘welfare of the human community’ which means a thorough consultative process by the said ‘human community’,” they reminded. 

The plans “need a vision that takes into consideration a consultative approach rather than be imposed from the top. If access to resources, human rights, secularism, democracy and ethnicity of the island community is to be preserved, your timely intervention will uphold the Preamble to the Constitution of India,” write the experts. They stated that the Lakshadweep islands need “access to safe and secure healthcare, education, just governance, food security and livelihood options linked with their ecosystem, including the rich resource of tuna fishery in surrounding waters.”

The Full Text of the letter may be read here:


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