UNION TERRITORY OF
INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH - 2012
SHRI. AMAR NATH, IAS
U.T. OF LAKSHADWEEP
1. Beloved fellow citizens of India, President-cum-Chief Counsellor, Vice President- cum-Counsellors, Chairperson of Village (Dweep) Panchayat, Kavaratti, Members of District Panchayat, Village Dweep Panchayat(s), Heads of Department, Government Officials, Ladies and Gentlemen and my dear Children.
2. I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to the people of Lakshadweep on the auspicious occasion of 66th Independence Day Celebration. On this occasion let us remember our freedom fighters who have given their lives for achieving independence and have brought freedom to us. We remember with pride, the gallantry of our Armed Forces who are safe-guarding our borders, in the land, sea and air and our para military police forces for maintaining peace by preserving national security in our mother land.
3. On this occasion we pay homage to our departed leaders who laid down a strong foundation in these islands. Our nation has made tremendous progress since Independence. However, in recent times it has faced several challenges to its security and peace, both from outside and inside. We must meet these challenges to make our nation strong. Let us resolve on this day to preserve and create an environment of peace, love, brotherhood, freedom and creativity. To achieve this objective, I seek support from the common citizens, all elected Panchayat members and the officials so that we achieve our dream of becoming a front runner Union Territory.
4. The UTL Administration is committed to the development of islands by utilizing all available resources. I am happy to inform you that we have achieved our targets for planned development by utilizing government funds to the tune of 98.5% in the financial year
2011-12. Considering the achievements of the previous years, the Government of India has enhanced the budgetary support to this small UT up to `.400 crores under Annual Plan 2012-13, apart from `.503 crores under non-plan, thus allocating a total of `.903
crores in the current financial year. Availability of this fund will ensure comprehensive development in all sectors especially Shipping, Education, PWD and Fisheries etc. Our imminent challenge is utilization of these funds keeping in mind the local requirements and ensuring your continuous participation in the process of development.
5. Taking a giant step in participatory development, the Administration has successfully carried out devolution of 5 major sectors to the Panchayats from 1st April, 2012. These Sectors, which affect day today lives of the citizens, like Education, Health, Fisheries, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry are now being managed by Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs). Out of a total plan out lay, these sectors will utilise almost 25% share. With this devolution, responsibility also comes along. We have to ensure effective and transparent utilization of these funds through our PRI.
6. The isolation of Lakshadweep from the mainland is the most important challenge facing us. The need for better connectivity has been emphasized time and again for which shipping sector has to provide a solution in such a manner that citizens can commute to the mainland, inter Islands freely and comfortably throughout the year. Construction of two- 400
Passengers–cum-250MT cargo ships is in progress and both the ships are likely to be delivered by the end of next year. A 2000 LPG Cylinder carrier and an Oil barge of capacity of 150MT is expected to be delivered within this year. Approval for two numbers of 800 MT multipurpose cargo vessels has been granted by Government of India which may take around 18 months for construction and delivery. For transportation of HSD oil for Electricity generation, the UTL Administration is making all efforts to acquire one 1000MT bulk oil barge. With addition of these 3 vessels, the connectivity for passengers and cargo to mainland and inter-islands will become quite satisfactory. Two Helicopters of Pawan Hans have rendered commendable services for the inter island services and evacuation of patients from islands to mainland, and they have saved many precious lives in critical conditions.
The Department of Ports has also started additional Ticket Counter in Ernakulam from 2nd July, 2012 for convenience of passengers. The Dedicated Berth at Kochi is likely to commence operations from September, 2012. Government of Kerala has allotted land in Beypore for construction of 200 meters of Dedicated Berth which will be constructed by CPWD at a cost of around `.50 crores. Government of Karnataka has also agreed ‘in principle’ to allot 300 meters long berth at Mangalore for the Lakshadweep Administration. These facilities will further make connectivity effective and efficient.
7. For bringing social and economic change, the Department of Education has to play a vital role. Beginning with 300 students in 1956, Lakshadweep has come a long way now having a strength of 18000 students who are studying within the islands and at premier institutions across the country. 100% accessibility to Primary Education and 92.98% Literacy puts Lakshadweep at 3rd pedestal in the country. Now the need of the hour is to provide
‘Quality Education’ by ensuring that all our teachers get good training and utilize latest Technology in the field of ‘Teachers Training’ with the help of DIET. The Computer eduction in the schools is also being upgraded by installing 180 Nos. of computers in IT Lab. Space has been provided for establishing Degree Colleges at Kadmat and Andrott and for establishing Polytechnic at Andrott. The Department of Education is guiding students and guardians of 10th & 12th standards for career Counseling. The Right to Education Act has been enforced to provide elementary education from class 1 to 8th.
8. We all know that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. The spirit of competence in sports brings out the best in any individual which we see at international sporting events like Olympics. The Administration is committed to provide excellent sports infrastructure for our students and youth by constructing Indoor Sports Halls and Health cum-fitness Centres in all the islands. Foundation stones for these have already been laid in Kiltan, Amini, Minicoy and Kadmat between November 2011and February, 2012. A Sports Hostel at
Andrott is proposed to be established. Foundation stone for a full-fledged stadium has also been laid down at Kalpeni. Our Civil Services swimmers have brought laurels to the territory by winning 9 medals at National competition held in Kerala. A national integration camp at Kavaratti was held and 275 cadets and officials from all the states/UTs participated. Implementation of Panchayat Yuva Krida Evam Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) has already started. The department is going to organize a UT Level Water Sports competition in February,
2013 and will also introduce Scouts & Guide units in the islands.
9. The growth of tourism is vital to the overall growth and development of the territory. Tourism has vast potential to provide employment and income to a large number of our youth of Lakshadweep. The Administration is committed to the development of tourism in general and by creating more job opportunities to island youth in particular by opening the tourism sector while giving equal emphasis on preservation of sensitive ecology of Islands and cultural heritage of people.
10. The Department is providing major thrust to augment infrastructure such as accommodation at Kavaratti, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Minicoy and other places. The Department has renovated tourist complex at Kavaratti which was inaugurated on 22nd December,
2011. Additional huts are also being added at Kadmat and Minicoy.
11. Department has already procured sufficient equipments for Water Sports and Scuba Diving. High Speed Boats are proposed to be acquired for better connectivity between islands for generating more tourism activities. Administration has already established Lakshadweep Diving Academy (LDA) to promote Lakshadweep as a unique dive destination and to train local youths in Scuba Diving. This will open several avenues for these youth for self employment and get specialized jobs. Policy for setting up Dive Centres is on the anvil and is likely to be introduced very soon.
12. As a new venture, Administration is planning to start tent based temporary but High Quality accommodation which will provide additional occupancy while being eco-friendly and in sync with nature. As a pilot and demonstration project, the facility will be created in Bangaram and Cheriyam Islands. If successful, we can expand this in other islands also.
13. The Department is sending 32 youths to Institute of Hotel Management, Calicut for training in food production and Food & Beverage service under ‘Hunar Se Rozgar’ Scheme of the Govt of India. With this skill based training, the youths will get ample opportunity to work in mainland and in Lakshadweep.
14. The Public Works Department is carrying out the third phase construction of transit accommodation at Kochi and also another transit accommodation at Agatti for hospital patients. Guest Houses at Kozhikode and Mangalore are also under construction. For providing safe and clear water for the residents, Administrtion with the help from National Institute of Ocean Technology(NIOT) will establish Desalination Plants in 6 islands at a cost of Rs.99 crore for which Government of India has granted approval. The distribution network for water supply in all the islands will also be augmented. Central Water Commission has constituted an Expert Committee to study the sea erosion problem and will suggest suitable methods to protect the islands. For construction of new roads in various islands, the public demand has been kept in mind while approving roads during the Out Reach Programme.
15. The Department of Electricity is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year at Minicoy Island which was electrified in 1962. We have already achieved 100% electrification of houses long back and now the installed capacity of 17 MW is almost double of the peak demand and, therefore, being self-sufficient we don’t have any power cuts. The renovation of the Solar Plant at Kavaratti, Andrott, Minicoy and Kadmat has been completed to provide pollution free renewable energy. In fact we have a goal to provide 100% renewable energy in Lakshadweep. Taking steps in that direction, 3000 solar lanterns have been provided for distribution and around 750 solar street lights have been installed.
16. The Health indicators in Lakshadweep show that we are far ahead of other states and UTs in the field of primary health care. 100% immunisation of children has already been achieved. The progress of Rajiv Gandhi Speciality Hospital at Agatti has been remarkable and it is providing quality health care within the islands saving expenditure and trouble of going to mainland. Five Intensive Care Units (ICU) are already functional and up gradation of X-ray Units has already been done. A well equipped Blood Bank has started functioning at Kavaratti. We will continue to upgrade the health care for the citizens by providing quality infrastructure and specialized treatment.
17. Our Agricultural activities are concerned primarily with cultivation of coconut. The process of organic cultivation is a continuous process, started in 2010 will be completed in
2013. We are persuing the Ministry of Agriculture and Planning Commission for declaring a reasonable minimum support price for organic copra as well as other organic products. There is a need to create facilities for processing of coconut so that by value addition farmers get better margins and higher incomes. Department has also established a Mushroom cultivation Centre at Minicoy and will establish Kitchen Gardens for growing fruits and vegetable. The organic insecticides as well as parasitoid are being used for controlling the menace of mealy bug which has attacked the Papaya production.
18. For providing food security to our people, the newly constructed FCI Godown at Andrott is proving to be a boon. We have been allocated 10,000 LPG cylinders per month and LPG Godowns are also likely to be constructed in all the islands before March, 2013. With great efforts we have also been allocated 250 KL Kerosene Oil under non PDS for supplying to our fishermen. The Ration Cards are being computerised for more transparency and convenience of the consumers.
19. The Army Recruitment Rally was conducted at Kavaratti and Andrott in January,
2012 and 40 candidates from Lakshadweep have been selected. Career Counsellors are
providing career guidance to students and a separate career selection centre will start functioning in District Panchayat soon. The ITI is planning to start double shift for NCVT courses so that 64 more candidates can get training every year. Two new courses of Marine Engine Fitter and Two wheeler automobile repair course are also being started.
20. The Law and order situation in islands has remained peaceful as usual. The Police force is however being equipped to handle any untoward situation or incident. The Coastal Security will be enhanced with the deployment of 92 constables who have been trained from Kerala Police Academy at Trichur.
21. To inculcate reading habit in our children, a site has been identified for establishing a Central Library and a Cultural Centre in Kavaratti. The Lakshadweep Kala Academy is planning to conduct cultural programmes like National Minicoy Festival, Atolo Eidu and Kalolsavam in the next few months. A complete vernacular dictionary of Lakshadweep islands is also under preparation.
22. The Animal Husbandry Department is providing assistance for diagnosis and control of live stock diseases and a disease diagnosis Laboratory has been established at Kavaratti, and a mini feed mixing unit at Kavaratti is also being started to provide fresh feed within the island. The 19th livestock Census, 2012 is scheduled to be started from September, 15,
23. To encourage local craftsman, sales outlets will be established for marketing the handicrafts items in remaining islands in addition to Agatti, Kalpeni and Kadmat where they are already functioning. The Industries department has procured latest spinning machines and automatic weaving loom and has installed these at Andrott for producing value added coir products. The Fibre Factory building is about to be completed.
24. As a symbol of cooperation and local entrepreneurship, co-operative societies are providing opportunities for economic activities. The Lakshadweep Co-operative Marketting Federation (LCMF) has procured about 3300 MT Copra worth `.17 crores in the year
2011-12 and 90% payment has been made to farmers. The Co-operative set up is making available consumer durables and non-durables apart from meeting the credit requirement of people through Service Co-Operative Societies.
25. We have successfully implemented the scheme of High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) in Lakshadweep to implement the Directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Department shall issue Smart Card based driving licenses and Registration certificates soon.
26. To develop scientific attitude, the Science & Technology Department is coordinating with various Technological & Research Institutions for innovations in the field of identifying Potential Fishing Zones, installation of incinerators and procurement and installation of Bio- Toilets in the Islands etc. Integerated Island Management Plan for all the islands are under preparation in association with Centre for Earth Science Studies(CESS) Thiruvananthapuram. Other objectives of the departments like Coral Reef Monitoring, Establishment of Science & Technology Museum, Management of Fresh Water resources, Solar based Desalination Plant for Bitra etc are being effectively met.
27. The Department of Social Welfare is providing financial assistance in the form of old age pension, pension to widows and disabled persons through Panchayats. The assistive devices like wheel chairs and trycycles were distributed to 59 persons in the year 2011-12.
28. We have inherited a rich tradition of having a reverence for all forms of life and to live in harmony with nature. Department of Environment & Forest is implementing schemes for conservation of natural resources by holding awareness camps about climate change
and sustainable development. The important programmes run by the department include social forestry programmes and granting financial support to Panchayats for environment protection and sanitation.
29. To provide a citizen friendly e-Government, 18 Common Service Centres(CSC) will be set up. 12 such centers named as ‘Ashraya’ have already been set up and every year we will celebrate ‘13 April’ as the ‘Ashraya Day’ in Lakshadweep. The campaign for 100% e- literate Lakshadweep is being launched. A telephone based citizens grievance redressal mechanism is being launched. The IT Department is also developing various applications for passenger ship information, ICDS, Health, SPORTS, building material supply, issuance of certificates by SDOs and ration cards etc.
30. As I conclude, I convey my sincere gratitude to Hon’ble Member of Parliament, President–cum-Chief Counsellor, Vice President cum Counsellors, Chairpersons and members of various Village (Dweep) Panchayats, other public representatives, distinguished and committed officers and to the people of this territory for their support and co-operation extended to the Administration.
31. I wish that with our concerted efforts and participation of people, this territory will tread on the path of development and prosperity. It is our joint endeavour to carry forward the process of development for future generation while creating an environment of harmony, peace and consensus. On this auspicious day, let us pledge to work dedicatedly, honestly and with a common goal of making this territory as the most ideal territory in the country.
May God bless you all.