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Synopsis: The role of the newly appointed administrator of Lakshadweep is under controversy. Some of the recent steps go against the interest of people.
Lakshadweep is a group of 36 islands in the Arabian Sea totaling 32 square kilometers. It has had a calm existence as a Union Territory. But recent governance changes introduced by the government have become a cause of concern.
An administrator is a representative of the President in the Union Territory like a Lieutenant Governor.
What are the controversial steps taken by administrator?
The draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 empowers the Administrator to take over land and forcibly relocate people. It provides for strict punishments for those who resist. Following are some controversial steps taken by the administrator;
- Firstly, the consumption or sale of beef will be a punishable offence punishable for seven years in prison.
- Secondly, Those who have more than two children cannot contest panchayat elections.
- Thirdly, under the new Goonda Act, anyone could be held in prison without reason for up to a year. It is in a place that has a very low crime rate.
- The traditional livelihood of fishing communities has been obstructed by tedious regulations that negate their access to coastlines.
- Lastly, their sheds on the coastal areas have been demolished on the ground of violating the Coast Guard Act. Dairy farms run by the administration have also been shut.
- A development like this is a serious threat to the people of Lakshadweep and the delicate ecosystem.
What are the issues involved?
Lakshadweep administrator is the first politician to become an Administrator. In the past five months, he has showcased a sole disrespect for the people’s concerns and priorities.
- Firstly, There are fears of other motivations in the absence of any administrative rationale in these deliberately random methods.
- Secondly, Commercial interests could be one of the reasons. The land vacated by people could be transferred to buyers from outside.
- Thirdly, there could also be ill-advised political plans to change the demography of the islands. People are protesting, but the Administrator seems firm on his plans.
- Rajya Sabha Members from Kerala have urged the President to recall the Administrator in separate letters. The basis for carving out Union Territories as an administrative unit is to protect the unique cultural and historical situations of their people.
- The Centre is reversing its duty to protect into a licence to interfere. It must recall the Administrator and reassure the locals.
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