BJP firm on ILP introduction, have unflinching support from islanders: Jolly

Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
10 May 2018

Reacting to a recent media statement by the Chief Secretary of the UT Administration, the State President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), A & N Islands, Mr Vishal Jolly sought to clarify the stand of the party on the demand for introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in these islands. Speaking to EOI, Mr Jolly said the islanders don’t wish to hamper economic growth, but a system needs to be in place to protect the interest and traditions of the original inhabitants here as also to preserve the fragile ecosystem of these islands. “In the absence of ILP, these islands have seen huge influx of population from other parts of the country especially from neighboring country Bangladesh. We’re not demanding an ILP system enforced in North Eastern States or Lakshadweep. but advocate for a restriction on illegal immigration of foreign population. After tsunami in 2004, the numbers of migrant population from Bangladesh has increased manifold. Engaged by construction agencies, these migrant labourers are scattered across these islands and have encroached upon government land to permanent settle in these islands,” said Mr Jolly
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a small territory with limited carrying capacity and if the population influx continues unabated, it may greatly change the demography of this archipelago. A major share of funds allocated by the Centre for these islands is being spent on the sustenance of this foreign population. They encroach land, obtain electricity, water and medical facilities eating into resources meant for the original inhabitants here. Introduction of Inner Line Permit is being demanded for long not only by political parties, NGOs, but even by ordinary residents of these islands, he said.
The Andaman and Nicobar Administration should prepare a central list of residents here on the basis of Islander Cards issued till 2002 and voter identity cards in 2004. People, who came to these islands after this period, should be issued permits to work in these islands for a specific period and subsequently asked to leave after the expiry of the set period. There is no need for imposing any restriction on purchase of land or investing here, but welfare of the original inhabitants should not be lost sight of. The matter has been raised with the Home Ministry and paper works are presently underway. We request the administration to back the demand for introduction of ILP here. Back in 2002, there was an order for issue of Islander Card and Inner Line Permit, but the administration only implemented the former, added Mr Jolly.