After the intervention of the Kerala High Court and mounting criticism from all quarters, the Lakshadweep administration has repealed its controversial order to demolish buildings within 20 metres of the islands’ coast.
An eviction and demolition notice issued to those who had constructed their homes too has been withdrawn. Of the 102 buildings given notices earlier, 80 were houses.
Other sheds and unused buildings on the islands' coast will be demolished.
The proposed measures fall under the umbrella of the Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP) devised by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2015. It was made after incorporating recommendations of a committee appointed by the Supreme Court.
However, islanders allege that the proposed reforms are far removed from the IIMP's action plan. They fear that it's a three-pronged strategy to pave way for big players in the tourism sector, restrict cultural and religious freedom and cut off links with Kerala.
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The Kerala High Court had earlier stayed the eviction and demolition notice following a petition filed by the residents of the island.
(This article was first published in onmanorama)