VOL: 35 | ISSUE: 23 | FRIDAY | 6 JANUARY 2012
By Debkumar Bhadra
The masterpiece article in the Light of Andamans, Vol 35, Issue 22, dated 16 Dec 2011, titled "The Administration : A collective portrait" traces the predicament faced by A&N Administration (called family) bare and nude. It is ironic that though part of Indian democracy, governance in these islands is "one way" affair; as if those outside the family neither have brains capable of analysing things nor have a heart which could bleed when hurt. Consequently the head of the family castled in the make believe world put up by the subordinate members of the family is unable to take a view considerate to the needs, expectations and aspirations of the islanders.
I still remember the days when the head of the family had to tour the North and Middle Andamans only to assure the islanders that their concerns on ATR and Buffer Zone will be taken care of. He said "…Buffer Zone will not cause inconvenience…there will be no displacement in this count…" The promise was repeated in the coveted 2011 Republic Day message delivered in the august presence of the members of the family and heard in every nook and corner of the islands.
Yet in reality, what happened is a sharp contrast and unbelievingly contradicts to what had been promised by the head of the family - The Buffer Zone Notification is still in vogue and the fear among the Islanders looming large. The existing ATR convoy which was inadequate and considered a hurdle in the free movement of Islanders has been reduced to 4 from 8, making movement of goods, services, essential commodities and the Islanders across ATR even more harrowing. To add insult to the injury, heavy goods vehicles are let loose ahead of passenger cars and light motor vehicles in the revised convoy system.
The Islanders may not tell but the dark clouds cast over the lifeline of North and Middle Andamans (I mean ATR) and the fear of losing whatever little they have, at the hands of their own government is giving nightmares to the Islanders. All due to inept handling of island specific issues by one or the other member of the family. Further the unholy nexus, the underlying rift and lack of mutual cooperation is adding to the woes of the Islanders whose life is already in shambles.
It is true, time and again the family had failed to take up matters in right perspective leading to decisions which score fairly on administrative grounds yet falls flat on social parameters. But the minions in the Administration are not to be blamed for this. If at all they get a chance, matters are dealt faithfully as per the likes (or dislikes) of members sitting higher in the family tree.
Moreover the family lacks understanding of each other's presence and their role vis-à-vis development of these
Islands, its unique environment, primitive tribes and non-tribal Islanders. That is why despite the family setup working perfectly they end up creating dissent among the Islanders.
Probably the family is in need of a messiah; who could see things from an Islander's perspective. Such a messiah can be no one better than the head of the family himself. But the point is who is reading this post!!!