The Kerala High Court, which enjoys jurisdiction over the Union territory of Lakshwadeep, has declined to stay the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation. The Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR) introduced by Patel has been the bone of contention. Among the policies of the new administration that are being opposed are- banning candidates with more than 2 children from contesting Panchayat polls, the removal of illegal storage facilities along the coast, and the strict order to boat owners against leasing/renting their boats to individuals without proper permission from authorities.
Previously, Congress leader KP Noushad Ali had sought an interim stay on the policy through his lawyer. A division bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and M R Anitha said that all the parties should get a chance to put their views on the matter but refused to stay.
The left-liberal establishment, which supposedly stands for liberalism, came out in protest against the new regulation. Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist have written to the President urging him to recall the administrator. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin have also backed the call.
Patel wants to make Lakshadweep the tourism hub of the country because the people, who go to the Maldives and spend foreign exchange, can be diverted to the Indian island which offers the same experience.
After taking responsibility as the administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020, Praful Patel had conducted 18 raids across the UT to fight the drug menace. Goonda Act was imposed in the UT keeping in mind the motto to completely shut the smuggling and distribution of alcohol and drugs. Anti-CAA/NRC posters placed by radical Islamist outfits were also brought down throughout the Islands.
The Maldives has emerged as one of the largest tourist hubs with its clear blue waters and mesmerising scenery attracting tourists by the heaps. However, India’s atolls in the Lakshadweep archipelago, which could be a viable alternative to the Maldives when it comes to attracting tourists, remain unutilized.
Its unfiltered beauty straddles the same vast marine mountain range as the Maldives and it is much cheaper to travel to Lakshadweep as compared to the Maldives.
Commenting on the dichotomy, Praful Patel remarked that his intention to develop Lakshadweep was to utilise its full potential. Terming public worry about their land being taken for developmental work as “misplaced and other people’s agenda”, Patel said, “nothing like this will happen”. “My only agenda is the development of Lakshadweep,” he said.
“Why is it that people are waiting to go to the Maldives, but are not even willing to come to Lakshadweep? It is to develop tourism and for long term benefits that we are introducing the LDAR,” Patel was quoted as saying by the Print.
Despite having a Muslim population of over 96 per cent of the total population on the island — the Islamist and communists wrongfully claim that Patel is trying to undermine the ‘Islamic character’ of Lakshadweep. Simply put, these armchair crusaders want the public of Lakshadweep to languish in a bygone era, amidst poverty and lack of opportunities. Patel dared to change that and in return, he has received a bucketful of hate and backlash.