National movement needed to save Lakshadweep

Three Gujarati Musketeers messing with future of Island

By Sushil Kutty

The head musketeer should be given hearing aids, preferably of German-make. Reason: People keep calling him the Nazi ‘H’, and what if they’re right? Of course, the German chancellor wouldn’t like it. The three Gujarati musketeers think they know best what’s good for Lakshadweep, what ails the islands and what remedies should be administered?

The ‘Save Lakshadweep Forum’ did not take into account the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spends at least 17 hours a day mulling what to do, and where, to disturb the status quo no matter what the cost because money is not a factor for his pet projects. One is to transform parts of Lakshadweep from coral paradise to cement and concrete abomination. And the Lakshadweep administration, deaf to marine biologists and common citizens alike, is only too happy to oblige.
A bunch of marine biologists have sent forth an alarm, warning the Union Territory that going ahead with the project to build 370 “beach floating villas” on three islands of the archipelago would pose a serious threat to the fragile coral reef islands. Even the dumbest would have taken the warning seriously, but not the Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel, a Modi associate from way back, and who along with Modi and Amit Shah make up the three meddlesome Gujarati musketeers bent on turning Lakshadweep into a Gujarati outpost.
Imagine these coral islands have been there off the coast of Kerala for maybe hundreds of thousands of years, and human beings have inhabited them for maybe only less number of years, but those who were there never interfered with the islands or built their inflated egos on to them. Not anymore. The three Gujarati musketeers have landed. Three so powerful, they can do anything and get away with it – alter, demolish, build, cut into Nature’s bounties, deform them into eyesores.
The money-minded Gujarati trio is going ahead with the ‘370 Project’ against sane and grounded advice. And, by the way, what is this obsession with the number 370? With Jammu & Kashmir it was Article 370, with Lakshadweep it’s 370 villas. One to abrogate, the other to impose. Crazy! But that’s how it’s been since May 26, 2014.
For the most part Lakshadweep escaped undue attention. But on December 2020, the axe fell. The 70,000 natives of Lakshadweep haven’t had a proper two winks. How to battle the might of a Government hell-bent on destroying the island? Not even protest works. The three Gujarati musketeers are immune to protests. Ask Rakesh Tikait. The farmer-protests are on for eight months, and the farmers haven’t heard a murmur.
The head musketeer should be given hearing aids, preferably of German-make. Reason: People keep calling him the Nazi ‘H’, and what if they’re right? Of course, the German chancellor wouldn’t like it. The three Gujarati musketeers think they know best what’s good for Lakshadweep, what ails the islands and what remedies should be administered?
The trio has the whole course charted, the islands numbered and the fish accounted for. Before long when the 370 villas are built, the sharks will come — the loan-sharks, and the other sharks, those with deep pockets. But first the so-called ‘Bengalis’ from mainland Kerala, the migrant workers and migrant labour to construct – masons and carpenters, concrete-mixers and lumbermen. It will be one big assault on the coral, and on the flora and the fauna.
Very soon, the three targeted islands wouldn’t be recognizable. Maybe they will float away, or at least the people of Lakshadweep would wish they floated away. The marine biologists warned that building the 370 floating villas would be a “developmental misstep” of monumental proportions, but who is listening? The trio of Gujarati musketeers have wax in their ears and $ signs for eyes, they can’t hear or speak!
The villas will be built using the design, build, finance, operate, and transfer (DBFOT) model on Public-Private Partnership basis on the three chosen islands – Minicoy, Kadmat and Suheli. The villas will be under the care of the Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS) headed by the Collector.
The bunch of scientists and researchers who have petitioned the administration, warning it that the NitiAyog project would be an ecological disaster, haven’t cut ice with Praful Khoda Patel. The Save Lakshadweep Forum needs immediate assistance to take on the Gujarati trio or else the islands will be lost forever to the Arabian Sea. No loss to Gujarat, but end of the road for the people of Lakshadweep.

The villas will be built using the design, build, finance, operate, and transfer (DBFOT) model on Public-Private Partnership basis on the three chosen islands – Minicoy, Kadmat and Suheli. The villas will be under the care of the Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS) headed by the Collector.

(IPA Service)

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