LDAR – A systematic destruction in the name of Development.

LDAR – A systematic destruction in the name of Development.

The Lakshadweep administration is now facing a storm over its draft rules introduced by its administrator i.e Praful Khoda Patel a former Gujarat Minister.
This administrator has recently introduced a slew of draft legislation that will have a wide-ranging impact on the Lakshadweep islands. The four controversial proposals are:-

1 The Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021
2 Prevention of Anti Social Activities Regulation 2021
3 Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation 2021
4 Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation 2021

The regulations are to be enacted by exercising powers conferred by article 240 of the constitution which provides the President, the power to make regulations for the peace, progress, and good governance of certain Union Territories including Lakshadweep.

One of them is Draft Lakshadweep Development Regulation 2021. It has been proposed to provide for the development of towns in Lakshadweep on the lines of Maldives.


Although LDAR2021 have some provisions also:-

~ CHIEF TOWN PLANNER :

Government shall, by notification, appoint a person as Chief Town Planner to assist the Planning and Development Authorities.

~ DECLARATION OF PLANNING AREAS :

The Government may, by notification, declare any area to be a planning area and direct that all or any of the rules and regulations shall apply to such planning area. Only cantonment areas are exempted from this.

~ CONSTITUTION OF LAKSHADWEEP DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY[LDA]:-

The government [Administrator], may constitute Planning and Development Authorities under it to plan the development of any area identified as a planning area.

~ FUNCTIONS OF LDA:-

Planning and Development Authorities are to prepare land use maps, comprehensive development plans and carry out zonation for the type of land use and indicate areas for proposed development – National Highways, Arterial roads, Ring roads, Railways, Airports, Theatre, Museums, etc.

~ DEFINES “DEVELOPMENT”:-

It defines “development” as the carrying out of the engineering, building, mining, quarrying, or other operation in, on, over, or under land, the cutting of a hill or any portion thereof or the making of any material change in any building or land or the use of any building or land.

~ LEGAL IMMUNITY AND PENALTIES:-

  • The regulation states that the development plan would not be questioned by anyone, be it in any legal proceedings also.
  • It gives the administrator the authority to forcibly remove or relocate residents from their property for any developmental activity.
  • It establishes penalties such as imprisonment for obstructing the development plan’s work.

~ PROPOSES FEES FOR CHANGING ZONES:-

It stipulates that islanders must pay a processing fee for any zone changes i.e The people would be required to pay a fee to gain approval to alter zones as per the development plan, as well as for permission to develop their land.

ADVANTAGES OF THE REGULATIONS:- The Lakshadweep Administration has stated that the Regulation is necessary for the development of the islands into a tourism hub.
Along with that, it is focussing on Income and Employment generation i.e The Government aims to generate income and provide employment to the islanders by “Holistic Development of Identified Islanders”. The Government is also targeting “Strategic Significance” which elaborates that the development of the territories will impact hugely Strategic Significance amidst rising Chinese inroads in nearby countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives The Indian Oceans.

SOME GENERAL FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT LAKSHADWEEP:-

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF LAKSHADWEEP:-
Lakshadweep is an Archipelago – which means a large group of islands. It is an archipelago of 36 islands in the Arabian sea.
Lakshadweep has a Tropical climate which means there is an average temperature of 27 degrees Celcius to 32 degrees Celcius respectively.
The total population of all the islanders is around 65,000 {according to the 2011 census}.

CORAL ISLANDS:- Corals are basically marine animals that belong to a class well known as Anthozoa. These are Polyp like formations of sea anemone, which stay in colonies.
Coral Reefs are of three types as Atolls, Fringing Reefs, Barrier Reefs.

Lakshadweep islands are the most famous beach destination of India due to its qualities like:-

  • Crystal clear water and rich marine life.
  • Stable temperature of waters.
  • Pearl fishing and vital seafood supplies.
  • Natural vegetation attracts tourists.
  • Ample amount of Coconut Vegetation.
  • High literacy rate despite tribal groups.
  • Rich Culture and Heritage.
river in the middle of green trees
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

THERE ARE SOME ISSUES WITH THE REGULATIONS WHICH ETHICALLY DO NOT CONTRAST WITH THE BEHAVIOUR OF THESE BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS, THESE ISSUES ARE:

FEARS OF REAL ESTATE LOBBY:- People fear that the regulation is aimed at facilitating the entry of capital from outside the island for the acquisition of their land.

FORCIBLE RELOCATION AND EVICTION:- LDAR gives unbridled power to authorities to relocate people for the development plans which is a matter of concern for the regional people as it caused the belief of forcible eviction. It also puts the onus on the owner to develop his holding as per the plan prepared by the authority as also heavily penalize them in the event of non-compliance.

THREATEN THE CULTURE AND LIFE:- The island community is a close-knit group with families living nearby. This regulation will disrupt the way of life practiced by them for generations.

ECOLOGICAL CONCERNS:- The development plan is neither socially viable nor ecologically sustainable. Also, the people’s representatives were not consulted during the drafting process.

IGNORES PEOPLE’S NEEDS AND THE GEOGRAPHICAL REALITIES:- The regulations envision expanding existing and proposed national highways, major streets, ring roads, railways, tram-ways, airports, and canals, etc., ignoring the long-standing demands of the people and the geographical reality of the region –
a major concern of the people is transport connectivity between the islands and the Indian mainland which needs more ships and boats and better
management of facilities.

CONCLUSION:- Rather than the heavy-handed and top-down approach that refuses to engage with local concerns and needs,
the administration should embrace participatory development to reduce the anomaly between its vision and the needs of the residents.
It will also avoid deforestation in the area of tropical evergreen forests i.e Lakshadweep.

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