Lakshadweep 1

His Excellency

The Governor of Kerala

Kerala Raj Bhavan

Vellayambalam

Thiruvananthapuram

 

Sub: AN APPEAL FOR THE PEOPLE OF U.T OF LAKSHADWEEP

Sir,

We are a group of concerned citizens living in Thiruvananthapuram who have been shocked since a few days with  news about the happenings in the U.T of Lakshadweep that will affect the life and livelihood of the community there.

We are comprised of social scientists, social activists, ecologists, geographers and environmental scientists.  Some of us have been closely associated with studies in the U.T of Lakshadweep on the ecology and human life since 1994.We  have been aware of the ethnic community structure of this unique bit of land lying afloat the mighty Arabian Sea that has withstood the vagaries of the ocean and weather.

We understand from various studies which have been done by credible historical, cultural and ecological institutions that the stability of the coral reefs that protect the islands have been nurtured and maintained by the life and culture of the homogenous community which lives in the islands. The human occupants of the island have adapted  and found a niche that enables them to cope with the limitations of land and fresh water availability. The social fabric built up on an ecosystem based economy linked to fishing is also connected to the cooperation, tolerance, acceptance  and mutual dependence that exists there.

From the recent policy changes in the name of reforms that are proposed to be  implemented in the islands unilaterally we also know that no consideration or due respect has been given to the time tested ways of land use, land ownership,  ocean resource utilisation and or livelihood practices adopted by the community. To add insult to injury , the culture and traditions of the ethnic group there has been overlooked by intervention into the food ethos, the reproductive freedom and self reliance of the people. The traditional existing methods of decision making using one of the oldest forms of democratic decentralisation which adds to the cohesiveness will be torn apart by these new changes. The carrying capacity of the 32 sqkm area of the inhabited islands will be stretched to the limit and will adversely impact the life of the people  if high volume tourism is implemented.

We strongly condemn this wrong and undemocratic move of a person holding a important decision making role in a politically and geographically sensitive area like the islands. Any kind of unrest and law and order situation that may ensue will have direct link to the above said injustice.

On the basis of all that we have understood, we request you to immediately stop all reforms that are underway and call for an urgent review of each one of them. The changes being proposed stated to be  for the welfare of the human community should be implemented only after a thorough consultative process. The programs being planned there should have a long term vision that takes into consideration  a regional , need based, consultative approach rather than the top-down way being envisaged now.

This is indeed the need of the hour if access to resources, human rights, secularism, democracy and ethnicity of the island community is to be preserved as is envisioned in the Preamble to the Constitution of India. What the islands need is access to safe and secure health care, transportation to mainland for  education, just governance, food security and livelihood options connected to the ecosystem that they are part of .

We look upon you with expectation and hope to intervene and set things right in the coral islands where each citizen has equal rights to options of livelihood, nutrition, land use and all other choices that hold a community together. We have much to learn from this community and let us not miss the chance and be remembered as being part of a generation that conducted a deliberate destruction of a way of life.

Thanking you in anticipation

Dr.D.Nandakumar ,Retired Prof of Geography, University of Kerala

Dr.S. Santhi, Environmental researcher and scientist

Dr.Radha Gopalan, Environmental Scientist

Shri. Gopakumar Pillai, Ocean hydrographer

Ms.Usha P.E, Social activist

Ashok.S. Human Resource Consultant

Jolly Varghese, Geographer

Renu Henry, Environmental activist

Anitha.S, Ecologist , Subject expert on ecology of U.T of Lakshadweep

 

CC- Shri Praful Patel, Hon Administrator, U.T.Of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti 


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


 


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


Comments are closed.