Holding placards “introduce mulching” and “stop imposing fine”, residents of Lakshadweep staged “coconut leaves and palm” protest against the administration’s order to levy a fine if coconut palm leaves, shells or trunks were found in and around their dwelling places.
Under the banner of Save Lakshadweep Forum (SLF), the islanders stood in front of a pile of coconut leaves in the properties urging the administration to withdraw the “anti-people” order. They urged the administration to withdraw the decision to impose fine on them and introduce technology to convert the organic materials from the coconuts as compost, a mixture of ingredients used to fertilize and improve the soil.
Mohammed Faizal PP, Lakshadweep MP, told PTI their demand is that the fine imposed on the people should be withdrawn and a proper waste management system should be implemented. “Unless the waste management system is implemented there is no genuine right from the side of administration to collect fine on falling of coconut leaves and other palms in their property,” he said. “Where are the islanders expected to do the scientific processing of leaves and palms?”
The Lok Sabha member said an islander cannot afford to have his own scientific processing unit or incinerator, and it is the prime duty of the Lakshadweep administration to provide such a facility. “If such facilities are made available and people are not obeying this, then you can impose the fine. The primary responsibility of the administration should be to ensure the installation of the scientific processing units like incinerators in the island.”
In the order issued on June 4 on the management of cleanliness and hygiene in the islands in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the administration has said each family of individuals who stay in any premise shall maintain cleanliness with certain standards and hygiene in and around their respective places at all times. It stated that tender coconut shells, tree leaves, coconut husks, trunks etc in and around dwelling places and public places must be disposed off scientifically by the landowners without affecting hygiene to the environment. No persons is allowed to throw or break or spread coconuts, fruits, leftovers, vegetables waste on roads, footpaths, public areas, lagoon, sea and the beaches. It prohibited the disposal by burning of any type of solid waste at roadsides, beaches and in open places.
Violators shall be liable for punishment with fine as per Schedule 1 of the Lakshadweep Solid Waste Management By-Law, 2018 and also be liable to criminal proceedings for offence punishable Under Section 188 IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
Over the past few weeks, Lakshadweep has recorded a series of protests by residents against Administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s decision to implement reform measures on the islands. The SLF has alleged that the measures were being implemented without taking the people of the islands into confidence.