Ninety-three retired civil servants have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising concerns about the contentious regulations brought in by Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel.
Raising objections against the draft regulations, that in the recent days have raised a lot of criticism, under the aegis of Constitutional Conduct Group, the signatories wrote, “It is clear that each of these draft regulations is part of a larger agenda that is against the ethos and interests of the islands and islanders.”
Since his appointment, Patel has ushered in some very controversial regulations such as beef ban, Goonda Act and Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021, and a two-child limit on panchayat poll aspirants.
Although Patel’s administration claims that the objective is to bring in development to the Union Territory, his proposals have been seen as arbitrary and violative of the islands’ ecology.
While Patel has been accused of bringing in regulations without consulting the people, many have even gone on to say that Patel’s policies will bring destruction to the archipelago instead of development.
“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 notes.
“Taken together, the actions and far-reaching proposals of the Administrator, without due consultation with the islanders, 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,” it adds.
The 93 signatories which include former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, ex-Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah among others have urged for the laws to be withdrawn.
“We urge that these measures be withdrawn forthwith, the UT be provided with a full-time, people-sensitive and responsive Administrator, and that an appropriate development model that emphasizes access to safe and secure healthcare, education, just governance, food security and livelihood options linked to the ecosystem, in consultation with islanders, be put in place, building on the achievements thus far,” the letter stated.