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In Focus

Basics remain out of reach for Islanders

Now, the 20 lakh footfalls per annum on the island are set to increase with the spurt in promotional activities and India’s longest rope-way all set to arrive bringing more to an island quickly running out of resources.

Basic medical facilities for 1,200 locals and the 20 lakh-plus tourists are out of reach here

Ironically, towards the end of 2018, the villagers spearheaded by a brand-new sharp-shooter Sarpanch demanded ‘security’ for the villagers and were provided two officers and twenty personnel that were deployed to protect the island around the clock.

For an island where visits are restricted between 9 am and 6 pm with the last launch leaving the island at 6 pm, the need for security seems a wee extravagant. Specially, when perceived against the need for basic medical facilities for 1,200 locals and the 20 lakh-plus tourists set to arrive on the island every year, that yet remains out of reach.

It’s the visual demonstration - of security personnel that show their presence in full strength on the jetty - that is now made available to tourists visiting the island. The show of security goes in sync with the state’s lofty plans to set up resorts and home-stays across the island. Now, whether the security is needed or not isn’t important. What is important is the fact that it augurs a sense of anticipation: An ill-placed display of anticipation associated with almost all of Maharashtra’s tourist spots starting with the Gateway of India back on mainland from where the tourists arrive.

This report has been prepared for DraftCraft International’s Flagship Initiative, The Elephanta Island Project to research, analyse and determine the rights and liabilities of Islanders, local and foreign tourists vis-a-vis the responsibility of the State towards all stakeholders and natural resources while upholding the law of the land and ensuring the protection of environment that tops the list of priorities. The initiative examines laws and policies regarding islands, sea transport, privacy, women’s rights, health, protection of the environment and rights and liabilities of tourists guaranteed to all by the State in context of the Right To Equality, Freedoms, The Right to Life and Global Conventions to which India is a signatory.