CEC Hearing (IA NO. 502/WP202)
The Central Empowered Committee heard two affidavits filed by the A and N Administration and Mr. B.P. Ray, MP, on Monday, the 6th January 2003.
The Administration had prayed for leave to extract " minor forest produces" including Ballis and Posts from the already worked protected forests and to import Casurina Poles as a substitute.
The CEC had asked for the Comments of Prof. Shekhar Singh, Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court for the Andaman Case. The petitioners, SANE, Kalpavirksh and BNHS had also responded to the Administration's affidavit pointing out the erroneous classification of Ballies and Poles under "MFP" by the Administration and the non-implementation of most of the SC orders.
Having heard all the parties, the CEC permitted the Administration to collect Ballis and Poles not exceeding 50% of the quantities prayed for from the already worked protected forests as a one-time relaxation for six months only. The CEC also upheld SANE's contention that Ballies and Poles are not MFP. They were permitted to import Casurina poles for distribution but forbade planting of Casurina in the Islands, as it is an exotic.
The CEC also reminded the Administration that all the recommendations of the Shekhar Singh Commission as modified by the SC are orders of the Supreme Court and will have to be implemented. They also stated that in case the Administration has any problems or reservations in implementing the SC orders, they would have to move the SC for relaxation or modification of the orders. The CEC would not be able to help.
Mr. K. Nataraj, President, Floriculture Association of India and a leading grower and exporter of Orchids made a presentation at the Secretariat Conference Hall on 8th January 2003.
Mr. Natarajan stated that the Islands enjoy the best possible meteorological conditions for growing of orchids. Orchids growers will have a natural advantage of temperature and high humidity that is conducive to larger production from the same varieties. The presence of volcanic rocks, an inert material ideal for growing certain varieties is another godsend.
Orchids, if grown in the Islands in right volumes can find a ready market in South/Southeast Asian destinations, some of which are closer to Andamans than the Indian Mainland.
Mr. Natarajan's presentation was attended by the Chief Secretary Mr. Prateep Singh, the Development Commission, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Industries, concerned officials of Forest, Agriculture and other Departments, and prospective entrepreneurs including the President, Andaman Chamber of Commerce part from NGO representatives.
It is heartening to note the interest taken by the CS in trying to promote this eco-friendly revenue-earning scheme, which obviously has a great potential here.
On the 30th December 2002, Mr. JP Negi, MD, National Horticulture Board had made a presentation in the Directorate of Agriculture which was also well attended by prospective entrepreneurs. Mr. Negi pointed out the limitations of practicing conventional agriculture and outlined the possible benefits of promoting horticulture instead. The NHB has many schemes to encourage entrepreneurs on attractive terms including liberal subsidies. The possibilities include growing of cut flowers, orchids, medicinal plants, and spices, etc. One hopes that the Directorate of Agriculture will take advantage of the schemes of NHB and the technical and marketing expertise offered by Mr. Natarajan.
The readers will remember that the Hon'ble Supreme Court, by accepting the recommendations of the Shekhar Singh Commission, had ordered that special efforts should be made to generate employment by encouraging horticulture including growing of medicinal plants, orchids and spices, etc. as these activities cause the least stress to the environment while having a great earning potential.
At present the surplus production of coconut after meeting local consumption is exported as copra without utilizing the water, the shell or the husk. A NDB assisted entrepreneur has started marketing coconut water as cocojal, another is making husk briquettes for the Australian market. The shell yields high quality charcoal, which can be utilized either for growing orchids or converted into activated carbon.
In the Island forests trees are loaded with orchids which are very rare in nature and some would command lucrative price if commercialized. According to the MD, NHB black hair mushroom found in Andamans has great demand in international market. And in the mainland there is a great demand for oyster mushroom which is very successfully gown here. It can be produced in large scale for export to the mainland. In our forests rare ferns and ornamental plants are available which can be propagated using tissue culture and sold as potted plants.
According to Dr. Diwakar, Deputy Director, Botanical Survey of India, Port Blair, about 115 species of Orchids are recorded from the Islands forests so far. But since many Islands and areas have not so far been surveyed for Orchids, the number is likely to increase substantially. Out of the 115 species occurring here, 5 or 6 are endemic (not found anywhere else), about 80% are epiphytic (growing on trees) and 20% are terrestrial (growing on land). More than ten of these are very beautiful with commercial potentials. Propagation of most of these orchids is relatively easy using conventional methods. At least four of SANE members have some orchids in their collection.
The Last Flower Presented during Sanctuary ABN Amro Wildlife Award Function
Quotes from the Courts on Governance
from the collection of Asish Ray
When you increase your business to a very greater extent, and the multitude of problems increase with its growth, you will find, in the first place, that the man at the head has a diminishing knowledge of the facts, and in the second place, a diminishing opportunity of exercising a careful judgment upon them. Furthermore-and this is one of the most important grounds of the inefficiency of large institutions- there develops a centrifugal force greater than the centripetal force. Demoralization sets in; a condition of lessened efficiency presents itself these are the disadvantages that attend bigness.
-BRANDEIS, Louis D.
(This is precisely the malady of large countries. Hence the need for decentralization of power and transparency).
The shareholders must suffer for the wrongs committed by their officers.
-CARDOZO, Benjamin N.
(The people do, as we all know.)
Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence. As Mr. Justice Brandeis, dissenting, said in Olmstesd v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928): "Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."
-CLARK, Tom C.
To tax and to please, no more than to love and be wise, is not given to men.
Forest and Wood-based Industry
The Planning Commission had sponsored a study to determine Economic and Environmental Impact of Policy of Transportation subsidy to wood-based industries in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The study was conducted by the Ecological Economics Unit of the Institute for Social and Economic change, Bangalaore.
From "Acknowledgements" part of the Report, it is found that the investigators had interacted with the Secretary (Industry), Director of Industry, Forest Officers including the PCCF and CCF, officials of ANIFPDC including the General Manager and the President Andaman Chamber of Commerce.
SANE was unaware of the study and consequently did not get an opportunity to make any presentation before the Investigators. But we are very happy to note that their recommendations are very close to what SANE, Kalpavriksh and BNHS had submitted to the Hon'ble Supreme Court and Shekhar Singh Commission. We quote below the Policy Suggestions recommended.
Government may offer incentives such as subsidies and direct grants to encourage investments in industries. This may be appropriate as a policy tool to stimulate development, provided that a proper economic evaluation of the project is undertaken, which includes all the relevant costs, as well as the benefits (such as regional development), which may accrue outside the project itself.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands ecology, local economy (socio-economic) and location (strategically sensitive) make every one to think about 2nd best or even 3rd best alternative or policy intervention. Sweeping statements or policy prescriptions may be harmful in the long run rather than becoming solutions. One has to take a holistic approach to address all inter related issues of the Islands. If any thing needs to be changed or done, it should be cautiously handled, and policy changes can be brought in phase-wise.
On transportation subsidy to wood based industries, the policy options could be:
Since net returns of medium scale plywood and veneer units are positive on all paid out costs, there could be no justification for any kind of subsidy to these units. Their social costs are also much more than the social benefits. And since the market for plywood and veneer is in the mainland, there could be no justification for these units to continue on A and N Islands timber.
Medium scale plywood and veneer producing units could be encouraged to import timber from foreign markets, and they can sell the finished products wherever they like. There could be no subsidy of any kind, and these industries could also be exempted from paying excise duty. As it has been mentioned, without subsidy, if excise duty is exempted, the units' net returns will increase, and they can operate on viable ways.
The other option could be, subsidy either equivalent to or 50 percent of the existing 90 percent could be continued on timber imported from foreign countries. And there will also be excise duty on the output sold. Plantation timber cold also be used by these industries, and such timber could also be imported from the mainland.
With this there could be 100 percent ban on felling of naturally grown trees in the Islands. In this arrangement Forest Department and its patrolling should be held responsible and accountable for illegal felling, if any, in the Islands. The role of Forest Department will have to be increased as protectors of forests and rather than purely conservationists.
Further, within the developing countries, Latin American countries have comparative advantage in industrial plantations. They are producing plantation timber for world industries much efficiently, and for India to complete with them will be difficult. Though India has vast areas of plantations, but producing low growth and poor quality timber. It would be advantageous to wood based industries in India to import good quality timer from these countries. This would also help us to keep and maintain our forests and ecology in good condition.
Sawmills may be required to meet the local demand of timber. If government sawmills can meet this demand efficiently, there is no need of even these units. But Govern sawmills are subject to limitations. In that case, the existing sawmills may be allowed to continue, but no license could be there for new sawmills. Further, sawn timber should not be allowed to export to the mainland. And since net returns over all cost of these units are also positive, there could be no need of any subsidy to them.
These policy suggestions could be useful keeping in mind the relevance of importance of wood-based industries in terms of income and employment, and revenue to the government. Closing down of these industries at once would have socio-economic impact on the islands economy. Appropriate policy measures need to be taken phase wise. With the above policy changes or interventions, felling of trees in the Islands would come down, and this will be helpful in protecting the industry as well as local people. But it is also required and important that:
1. Clear and appropriate working plans need to be prepared and implemented.
2. Protection of forest against poaching and illegal felling should get top priority, and strict laws and rules should be enforced.
3. Patrolling forests is a touch and challenging job in the Islands, hence special efforts should be made with appropriate infrastructure and machinery to safe guard the forest resources.
4. Encroachments should be checked, and handled with iron hands. For this it is very important to check he influx of streams of population flows from the mainland.
5. Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be treated as special area, the government of India may have a policy to maintain its stability in terms of income and employment only to local residents. For this some amount of subsidy could also be there in the budget. This is required keeping in mind the importance of these Islands, both strategically and ecologically (right in biodiversity).
6. Tiny units particularly furniture and handicrafts units should be encouraged even with some kind of subsidy and support in the marketing of their products.
7. No new forests should be worked for timber harvesting, and the demand/requirement by existing sawmills and furniture units could be met out of the existing worked forest areas.
8. Government sawmill at Chatam and Betapur could also supply the required timber by furniture and handicrafts units at confessional rates. In that case it may not be necessary to have private sawmills in the Islands.
9. No felling of trees in non-worked areas
10. Privileges and concessions to settlers and others could be selective and slowly be discontinued.
11. Locals residing in rural areas could be encouraged and supported to regenerate degraded lands, and the biomass (timber, firewood, bamboo, canes, thatch etc) from the regenerated lands could be shared on the principles of Joint Forest Management, being practiced in the mainland.
Place Names In The Andaman And Nicobar Islands
by Manish Chandi, ANET, Wandoor
There are probably very few regions in the world that have as diverse names for places than the Andaman Islands. With the colonisation of the islands from the native islander population to the formation of a Union territory in the present situation, places have been named and renamed are still being renamed. This has many facets that are beyond the scope of this article as it would take up a lot of space and probably bore the reader. Even so it is a fact that most of us are unaware of the various changes and reasons for places earning the names they are known by. The very concept of place names describes both culture and history in a way that is different from the conventional rendition of modern day historical writing. I will try to describe in brief what I mean by this in the few paragraphs below.
The most common knowledge that the islands are known as 'kalapani' is a reflection of our association with the penal settlement of yore and our ignorance of most of the hoary past the islands have witnessed. Much before 'kalapani' became 'kalapani' the islands were a real and living entity to the cultural ethos of the indigenous islanders. Each of their 12 tribal divisions based on dialect, culture and geographical area were composed of sites of temporary residences, communal residences, and resource gathering regions or associations to a past that was orally passed over to successive generations. Even this set of names was not final; change of name would take place with future events that they couldn't envisage. Of all these associations, the most numerous are names that have been recorded of associations with biotic resources. The Andamanese, who unfortunately are extinct today, (except for a small population of those that were left to hold their own) were a group of many people completely attuned to their island ecosystem that provided their means of survival, until they were caught unawares by the onslaught of a world that didn't care for their way of life. Trees that surrounded their camps provided most of the names for the sites along with any topographical feature unique to a region.
The early colonists unconsciously and consciously recorded this feature of place naming for many areas in the islands. It was during the British settlement that the first topographical surveys took place. They used Andamanese trackers from the vicinity of the settlement (the Aka bea da) to cut tracks and show them the various regions that were to be surveyed. This led to most of the names for places. Early anthropological work with the Andamanese finally led to a Dictionary and Grammar of the South Andaman language for which two maps were prepared illustrating the tribal distribution and place names in the Andamanese dialect. Another fact in this regard is that it must be remembered that the areas that did not belong to the Aka bea da, would have had different names, but since the colonists were not in much contact with the other tribes, those regions also have Aka bea da names for another tribal region. A famous name that every body interested in the Andaman tribes hears of is 'Lakra lunta'- originally spelt 'Lekera lunta', or place of the Lekera trees. Another place that did not belong to the south Andamanese but has been named in their dialect is a creek on Little Andaman Island, called 'Bumila' creek. This creek has a different name given to it by the Onges whose territory it is. The word 'Bumila' is used for a large fly (presumably tabana fly's), which abounded at the time of their landing there (during the late 1800's an officer of the then govt. went to Little Andaman to attempt to bring about friendly relations with the Onge). These are few examples of place's being named for its visible feature; this region was actually populated by a group (now extinct) called the 'Oko Juwai'. It was only much later (around 1910) after the Andamanese were becoming extinct that the Jarawa who were being pushed out of their home territory began occupying regions from Lekera Lunta to the northern extremity of their territory south of Hanspuri village. The regions that we associate today with the tribal/indigenous landscape are actually old Andamanese names, and not Jarawa names. Places such as Putatang, Jirkatang, Miletilak (formerly Maii-li-tilek) are Andamanese names for campsites; the Jarawa of course have different names for these regions and others, conforming to their visual and cultural landscape.
The first colonizers, the British, also gave a host of names to areas in and around the islands with their own notions. A lot of places have been named after officers, and other administrators of the islands during the British regime. A short list would include Port Blair (Archibald Blair), Corbyn's cove, Port Cornwallis, Havelock etc. There are also lists of places that have been named after the sailing vessels of the erstwhile British fleet. Some examples are Atalanta (now Atlanta point), Viper (Viper Island), Diligent strait (a strait between the Archipelago islands and the main group, called after the vessel (the Deligent) of the first naval hydrographer, John Ritchie, who visited the islands in 1771. The archipelago islands have been named after the person). Like the Andamanese some places names in English are also descriptive of biotic and topographic features, such as Snake Island, Mangrove island, Oyster island, Guitar island and Flat island.
After Indian independence, when settlement and migrations occurred, a new list of names came into being. Some were already there during the British regime, but with an Indian touch. Places such as Craikabad (derived from Sir Henry Graik [member of the Viceroys executive committee], but changed in enunciation to Craik!), Wimberlygunj, Cadellgunj, Ferrargunj are examples of such names. Another set of names was to follow, which came without the British prefix and were names given by settlers from different regions. Examples of these are Maymyo (Burmese), Mathura (from Uttar Pradesh), Wandoor (from a Moplah town in Kerala), Kalighat (Bengal), Webi (Karen), Hazaribagh (from Bihar), Pudumadurai (Tamil nadu) etc, and others such as 'Dudh line', 'Shadipur', 'Lamba line'- names that evolved in the early days of the Penal settlement. There also are Indian names given to regions due to both topographical and biotic resources that have and are being exploited; places like 'Hiran tikry', 'Mohwa tikry in the Jarawa reserve that is still being used by Indian poachers to hunt deer and wild pig from the Jarawa reserve, 'Lal tikry', 'Dhanikhadi', 'Sona pahad', 'Kurma dera'- named after the debris of broken stag horn coral that constitutes the shore line.
This list and explanations are short, but which I hope serves to illustrate some of the facets of place names and the many associations they bring about. The Historical aspect of place names comes about when one try's to find out why and who were the people or events that led to the genesis of those names. This is a large piece of work that cannot be justified in a few pages but will require a lot of effort and understanding of the many races and groups of people who live and lived here in the past. A disturbing trend does occur when attempts are made to rename places just because it doesn't 'sound' Indian. One must remember that we as Indians are occupying a land that originally belonged to other people, which we have inherited after the formation of our country and nationhood. The existing names have their own stories and adventures to tell, experiences and meanings of the past generations of humans who lived and preserved a landscape we are still trying to manage, but still damage. In conclusion, I would like to stress that there is a lot that one can learn through and about places by trying to decipher, very carefully, the meanings and associations that lie hidden in place names.