New Delhi: Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Modi, in his capacity as a Lok Sabha MP, to intervene and save the people of Lakshadweep by withdrawing the orders issued unilaterally by its Administrator Praful Khoda Patel without consulting elected representatives or the public.
He referred to the arbitrary policies declared by Patel (64), a BJP leader from Himmatnagar and former Gujarat home minister under then Narendra Modi government, who took over as the administrator of the union territories of Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu last December, accusing him of undermining the ecological sanctity of the island in the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulations issued recently.
Rahul refers to the island's pristine natural beauty and unique confluence of cultures while attacking the draft regulations, stressing that they "undermines safeguards pertaining to land ownership, dilutes environmental regulations for certain activities and severely limit recourse available to the affected persons, sacrificing livelihood security and sustainable development for short-term commercial gains."
"The provision in the draft Panchayat Regulation that disqualifies members more than two children is blatantly anti-democratic. Proposed changes in the regulations like the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities regulation, the Lakshadweep Animals Preservation Regulation and lifting of restrictions on sale of alcohol are a deliberate assault on the cultural and religious fabric of the local community. The attempt to cut dies with Beypore port strikes at the close historical and cultural ties with Kerala," writes Rahul.
He also pointed out that despite the pandemic, the administration demolished structures used by the fisherfolk, fired contractual workers in various government departments, and relaxed quarantine norms that led to a lethal strike in Covid cases. "Under the guise of development and maintaining law and order in a low crime union territory, the draconian regulations penalise dissent and undermine grassroots democracy," he added.
MUMBAI SUICIDE: It may be mentioned here that the name of administrator Praful Patel also figures in the 15-page suicide note of Dadra & Nagar Haveli's independent MP Mohanbhai Delkar, who ended his life in Hotel Sea Green in Mumbai on February 22, saying Praful Patel and others in his administration were responsible for "injutice," "insult" and "bias."