THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | VOL 36 | ISSUE 04 | 15 NOV 2012
Interview: HAR MANDER SINGH, IAS
Former Chief Commissioner (1972-75)
Prerogative of Govt. to Lay Down Policy on Land and Tribal Rights
Mr Har Mander Singh, IAS was the Chief Commissioner of Andaman and
Islands from 1972-1975. During his tenure, the Settlement of
Nicobarese in Little Andaman came up. The Settlement is named after him. Mr Har
Mander Singh, who stays in New Delhi replied to
The Light of Andamans through email on a few queries related with the
Settlement in . Harminder
What was the rationale behind resettling Nicobarese in Little Andaman, far away from their natural habitat and cultural environment?
I was in the
Islands during 1971-74. The Nicobarese population had
grown and we needed more virgin land to settle them. On the other hand, Little
Andaman Island was still being developed.
It had sparse population and needed more people to settle on it and help
The authorities thought that the area of what is now known as
Bay in the Little Andaman Island would
be suitable for the settlement of the first batch of the people from , who may be willing to migrate to
the new habitat. It would be a beneficial step for both the Nicobarese people
and the Little Andaman Islands. The
representatives of the Nicobarese people visited the area and approved of it
and the settlement was established. People were happy to settle in new
environment Nicobar Island
Did you foresee any conflict in the future on land and tribal rights?
One did not foresee any complaint in future about land and tribal rights. It is the prerogative of the Government to lay down the policy in such matters.