Patel’s plot is to grab locals’ land and help builders: Lakshadweep MP

Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal has accused Praful Khoda Patel, the administrator of the Union Territory, of plotting to snatch the lands of the local people in the name of the proposed draft Lakshadweep Development Authority to help builders and to turn the pristine island into a mega real-estate building venture in the name of tourism promotion, even by wreaking havoc with the ecology and social/cultural sensitivity of the local people. He also termed the move to ban beef eating and lift liquor prohibition in the island as a “diversionary” plot and questioned why the same was not being done in some BJP-controlled states.

“The intention behind the totally unjustifiable policy and administrative decisions of Patel is exactly the same as his acts (as administrator) of Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. The plot behind the notification of the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation is to grab the lands of local people to help builders and turn Lakshadweep into a mega real-estate building venture, by being totally unmindful of the destruction to the fragile ecology and cultural and social sensitivity of the locals, in the name of promoting tourism and building tourism infrastructure. Among others, the very decision of Patel, by using the prerogative powers of the administrator, to slash the rate of leasing of private land from the earlier ₹36 per square metre to ₹16 square metre exposes this land-grabbing and real-estate designs,” Faizal told ET over the phone.

“But he never anticipated the kind of protests from the people of Lakshadweep as he was hoping to brazen it out the way he did it in Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, where the local MP had to commit suicide. The protests are growing day by day in Lakshadweep and I hope the Centre will finally stop Patel from going ahead with his decisions, failing which it will become clear he is not alone in this,” said the Lok Sabha MP who belongs to Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

“A group of MPs, who wanted to visit Lakshadweep, were refused permission citing Covid concerns but when Patel visited Lakshadweep the other day, he brought along with him some representatives of private companies, including an electricity-supplier firm,” he quipped.

“The administrator’s other moves such as banning beef eating and lifting liquor prohibition are ploys to divert focus from his land-grab and real-estate business designs so that some people can give a communal colour to the protests. Let me ask Patel and the BJP government at the Centre, if you insist on banning eating of beef, which is the traditional food of the local people in Lakshadweep, then why is beef-eating not banned in BJP-ruled Goa, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh? If Patel and the Centre insist on lifting liquor prohibition in Lakshadweep in the name of promoting tourism, then why is liquor prohibition in Gujarat and Bihar too not lifted for the sake of tourism,” Faizal asked.

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