THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | ISSUE 30 | 20 APRIL 2012
Jarawa Policy Achieving Good Purpose: Adv. Doabia
Adv. T S Daobia, one of the Court Commissioners appointed by the Supreme Court seems to tow the line of the Admn in all aspects and have even dragged the Jarawa Dance Video issue and supported the Administration saying that it has already taken administrative disciplinary action and the involved police personnel were punished. He further adds that the video of the year 2008 is being re-projected.
He is all praise for the steps taken by the Admn to protect and safeguard Jarawas, and is of the view that the policy decision of 2004 and the later expert reports were achieving good purpose. He observed that the Jarawas appeared to be happy. However, he reiterated that there should not be too much interference in their lives and progress should not be at the cost of destroying the Jarawa culture. Stating that the Jarawas were an intelligent and self-respecting tribe, he accepted the fact that they survived all these years without any outside help but this should not mean that they should be left to themselves. They should be asked to express themselves and what action is to be taken should be in accordance with their wishes.
Surprisingly, there are many interesting and intriguing suggestions being made by T S Daobia. He is of the view that Buffer Zone has been created to insulate the Jarawa Reserve Area and feels it to be essential as an indiscriminate entry in the sea adjacent to the Jarawa area would reduce the supply of fish to the Jarawas. On the other hand, he feels that the issue as to whether buffer zone was properly created or not is matter on which the Court has to express its views.
On Andaman Trunk Road, he feels that the traffic is well regulated. It moves in convoys. He suggests separate convoy for the tourists who want to visit the lime caves; and for those who carry and transport essential goods. He also suggests reducing the convoys so far as passenger traffic is concerned. According to him, till alternate route is developed or till the sea route is made operational the Andaman Trunk Road should not be closed as it would affect the livelihood of the settlers who have been settled on the islands for more than 150 years now. He feels that any attempt to close the trunk road may lead to unemployment. According to both Commissioners, in the public meetings held at Baratang on 17th February and at Pot Blair on 18th February, 2012 the feeling expressed was that Andaman Trunk Road should not be closed.
On barter system, his observation is that there are unconfirmed rumours that the Jarawas use the barter system, at least for honey and dhup. They prefer to have rice. Interestingly, T S Daobia has suggested that the barter system should be strengthened and the services of Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti to be put into use as these persons have access with the Jarawas.
He also suggests strengthening of the Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS) and suggests police protection for them wherever necessary. According to him, the AAJVS staff appeared to be workers who were dedicated to the job and they need to be given proper encouragement.
He has also advised to have proper plantations of papaya, coconut or banana exclusively for the Jarawas and this should be done with their consent.
As a line of communication has opened up between the Jarawas and the Administration Doabia feels that it would be apt to use their services for protecting the borders. It is on account of Jarawas and other tribes that the islands have remained free from poachers. This is, however, a matter on which policy decision has to be taken by the Government. If possible, their knowledge or protecting the coast line can be utilized with their consent.
As far as tourist activities are concerned Daobia feels that one doesn't have to visit the two resorts. The two resorts are either located in the Buffer Zone or are very close to Jarawa Reserve Area. The Jarawas keep on moving from one area to another. The possibility of the Jarawas visiting these resorts cannot be ruled out and, therefore, this aspect of the matter has to be given due attention. The fact that these resorts have set up to satisfy the curiosity of the tourist to meet Jarawas cannot be ruled out. There is a need to avoid too much interaction as this has proved to be counter productive in the case of Great Andamanese Tribes.
He also takes a dig on the media and advises that there should be constructive reporting and the issues should not be blown out of proportion. He also suggests that positive steps taken by the Administration to fulfil Jarawa policy be given due publicity.