Amid protest by opposition parties, Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel will begin his week-long visit to the islands on Monday during which he will review the ambitious projects of the administration including Smart City, hospitals and eco-tourism. Save Lakshadweep Forum, a platform of various political parties opposing Patel’s reform measures in the islands, said the islanders will observe black day wearing black masks and raising black flags at houses during the administrator’s visit concluding on June 20.
Forum leaders said they will give a representation to the administrator’s office seeking the withdrawal of anti- people policies of the administration. “If he invites us for a discussion, our representatives will meet him. Repeal of the proposed Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, the Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (PASA or the Goondas Act) and the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation (LAPR) are our major demands. If he accepts our demand, we will cooperate with the administration," a forum leader told P T I.
The protesters also seek reinstatement of hundreds of people who were allegedly removed by the administration from government-related contractual jobs. Official sources said during his visit, Patel will review the eco-tourism projects in the islands.
The administration has said Maldives with the same natural beauty and similar geographical location as Lakshadweep has emerged as a great tourism location in the world map. According to officials, three eco-friendly tourism water villa projects are being developed for tourism development by the Lakshadweep administration in collaboration with NITI Aayog on the lines of Maldives in Minicoy, Kadmat and Suheli.
The administration says with the implementation of this project, tourism will get a new dimension and tourists will get facilities for accommodation, entertainment and local people will get new opportunities for employment and business. Patel would visit the proposed site for the sea facing hospital in Kavaratti and review the smart city project there.
The administration said it has planned sea facing hospitals in Agatti, Minicoy, Andrott and Kavaratti to boost the health infrastructure in the islands, which is about 500 km away from the mainland. An archipelago located in the Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep has been witnessing protests by locals over the recent actions and administrative reforms being implemented by island administration.
Expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep, the Kerala Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution on May 31, demanding the recall of the administrator and requesting that the Centre immediately intervene to protect the lives and livelihood of the islanders.