KOCHI: Amidst the continuing protests against the slew of reforms introduced by Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel, a notice issued by the revenue department directing farmers to demolish the temporary structures erected in uninhabited islands has triggered a row.
The island revenue department issued the notices on June 24 directing farmers to remove the illegal constructions within seven days. Any objection should be filed before July 1. "If you fail to remove the illegal construction within the stated notice period, the competent authority will remove the construction and recover the cost for the purpose from you," says the notice issued by the block development officer.
The notice says the construction is in violation of Section 20 (1) (Diversion of Land) of Land Revenue and Tenancy Regulation 1965. According to this provision, any person holding land for any purpose wishes to divert such land or any part thereof for any other purpose shall get the permission of the competent authority.
On April 28, the island administration had razed the sheds built by fishermen along the coastline of Kavaratti island. The sheds were built by the fishermen to keep their boats and fishing gear safe.
However, residents of Lakshadweep who have been cultivating land on the uninhabited islands for decades have objected to the move.
The structures in question are temporary in nature and cannot be demolished as the farmers use these sheds and structures to store agricultural equipment, coconut and fertilisers. The sheds are also used by workers to rest," said district panchayat member K I Nizamuddin. He said the structures have been existing for decades and are part of traditional agricultural operations.
The existing tenancy regulation in the island and the Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP) formulated by the Supreme Court permit the continuance of the sheds which were in existence prior to 2014. The livelihood of the scheduled tribe population will be affected if these sheds are removed, he said. According to Nizamuddin, there is no need to obtain a land diversion certificate as the agricultural land has not been diverted.