Maldives model can't work in Lakshadweep: Ex-bureaucrats write to PM Modi on 'disturbing' developments
Expressing concerns over the latest developments in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, a group of 93 former civil servants wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging three issues over the three proposed regulations, the drafts of which have been recently introduced by administrator Praful Patel, leading to a massive backlash. The developments are disturbing as they "constitute an onslaught on the very fabric of Lakshadweep society, economy and landscape as if the islands were just a piece of real estate for tourists and tourism investors from the outside world," the letter said.
Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, ex-Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, former Adviser to prime minister T K A Nair and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah are among the 93 signatories, news agency PTI reported.
"These drafts have been introduced without local consultation and are presently with the Ministry of Home Affairs, government of India for necessary approvals," said the letter, written by former civil servants under the aegis of Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG). A copy of the letter has been shared with home minister Amit Shah and environment, forest and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar.
The Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation reflects a model of land and tourism development which includes resorts, hotels and beachfront on the "Maldives model" unmindful of the differences between the two island groups in size, population, number of islands and their spread, the letter said.
The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, if passed into law, will ban the killing of bovine animals and prohibit the consumption, storage, transport or sale of cattle meat in an island environment where there are inherent limits to livestock development, the letter said, highlighting that no such ban is there in the North-East and in Kerala.
The changes being proposed by the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation, 2021 for elections to gram panchayats that will disqualify candidates with more than two children from contesting seats for the gram panchayat too have been proposed without any local consultation or taking into account local sensitivities, it said.
“Each of these measures smacks not of development but of alien and arbitrary policy making, in violation of established practices that respect the environment and society of Lakshadweep,” the letter said.
(With PTI inputs)