Regulations can’t be rolled back, asserts Lakshadweep Administrator

Praful Khoda Patel who has stirred a controversy over four draft laws says they have been framed for the development of the Union territory and for the betterment of islanders

Praful Khoda Patel, the Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands

Praful Khoda Patel, the Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands who of late has stirred the hornet’s nest over four controversial draft laws including a proposal to ban beef, stands firm on his proposals and says they have been grossly misunderstood even though they are for the benefit of the islanders.

The draft laws have already been sent to the Union Home Ministry for examination, and will come into effect after the Parliament and President give their seal of approval.

“All the draft proposals have been in the public domain for more than two months. Now the central government will decide on ratification or any changes to the draft proposals. The approval will take some time as the priority of the government is to tackle the COVID crisis,” Patel told The Hindu.

The four proposed laws are the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (PASA) and the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation.

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The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation has invited heavy criticism as it proposes to ban the slaughter of cows, calves bulls or bullocks. PASA or the Goonda Act, on the other hand, would empower the administration to detain a person for a maximum of one year if the latter’s actions “affect the maintenance of public order”.

In his defence, Patel says the Animal Preservation draft law has been drafted to protect animals suitable for milch, breeding and agricultural purposes. He stresses that the ‘beef ban’ should not be given a religious angle as there is no politics involved in it.

“The beef issue should not be viewed on a community basis. There is also no politics involved in the draft. If we had to play politics, we would have opted only for vegetarian food in mid-day meals for children,” he told The Hindu.

Even as the proposal to have a two-child policy for those contesting panchayat elections has created a furore among islanders, Patel said the proposal is meant for the disqualification of gram panchayat members having more than two children after the law is implemented.

“No citizen of the country should have any objection to the two-child norm. Many have misrepresented this provision. The proposal does not exempt any person having more than two children to contest the panchayat elections. However, there is also a provision reserving 50 per cent of the seats for women. This is not highlighted,” he said.

Stating that work has already begun under the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, he said tenders have been called for the maintenance of eco-tourism resort at Bangaram Island.

Under the same, the Capital Island of Kavaratti has been included in the Smart City Project, Patel said, adding that his administration has urged the Centre to bring five more islands into the ambit of tourism development to convert them into “world class villages”.

Asserting that his only purpose was to develop the Union Territory for the benefit of its residents, he said, “I don’t know how long I will be there. But it doesn’t make any difference to me as long as I’m here till I receive orders from the President.”

 

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