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Withdraw Problematic Lakshadweep Regulation: Experts Write to Prez

In the letter, the collective pointed out that LDAR is highly problematic and it would harm the islands.

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India
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A collective of scientists and citizens who have worked in various institutions in the Lakshadweep Islands have released a statement saying that the proposed Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation of 2021 (LDAR), is highly problematic as it would harm ecology, livelihood and culture of the islands.

In a review of the LDAR, the collective of scientists and citizens called ‘The Lakshadweep Research Collective’, says that acquiring local land is against the existing laws such as the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the Biological Diversity Act 2002 and The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

A letter signed by people has been sent to the President of India asking him to intervene to withdraw the Draft LDAR 2021.
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The Trail of Destruction

In the letter, the collective pointed out that LDAR is against the recommendations of Justice Raveendran Committee set up by the Supreme Court in 2015 and the country’s commitments towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, marine protection goals under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Ecotourism Guidelines 2019.

The collective stated that the islands are already impacted due to climate change and the coral reefs there are already affected badly.

It has asked the President to intervene to withdraw KDAR 2021, restore the Justice Raveendran Committee recommendations and establish a committee of scientists, policy makers and local representatives to re-evaluate the broader development plans.

“Anyone who has lived or worked in Lakshadweep for any length of time will be aware of its special vulnerability. Surrounded by the ocean, barely a few meters above sea level, and with only the reef to protect it. It is clear that all development on these islands needs to be very carefully managed.”
Rohan Arthur, Senior Scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation.

“Over the last two decades we have personally witnessed the reefs being battered by 2 repeated bleaching events and intense storms. How long it will take for these ecosystems to recover is anyone’s guess. Given how linked land, lagoon and reef are in Lakshadweep, the development envisioned in the draft LDAR would be nothing short of disastrous,” Arthur added.

The scientists pointed out that the current form of LDAR keeps out the public from decision making which is not sustainable and will not safeguard the habitat for its inhabitants. “Development on the islands need to see people and these ecological spaces as one unit, rather than severing their fragile ties,” says Dr Naveen Namboothri, Director, Dakshin Foundation.

(This article was first published in The News Minute and republished here with permission.)

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