New Andamans: The Aftermath of Tsunami in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Lieutenant Governor (LG) Ramachandra Ganesh Kapse made a commitment to rebuild the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar into ‘New Andamans’ after the 2004 tsunami. He declared that INR 30 billion would be required for reconstructing and modernizing infrastructure in the islands, focusing on tourism, fisheries, and high value agriculture in the process of rehabilitation. This chapter analyzes the development plans post-tsunami, focusing on the long-term rehabilitation, livelihoods, and shelters, by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration. The top-down rehabilitation packages were not suitable to the needs and choices of the people and were thrust upon them. By providing free ration nearly for five years until they were shifted to permanent houses, there was a disjunction in establishing food security and livelihood to the people. Even though they got the ‘tsunami’ houses, although of poor quality, livelihoods of majority remained an unresolved question. The tsunami unearthed many core issues: legal-illegal status of people, encroachment of forestlands, and the whole debate on the ‘development’ plans of the islands. The chapter examines the gap between the bureaucratic norm and the emergent norm: the assessment of the officials about the success of the rehabilitation process and the fulfilment of expectations and needs of the people. The gap between the bureaucratic norm and the emergent norm was far and wide.
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