SC seeks Centre’s plan for 2004-Tsunami hit farmers of Andaman and Nicobar

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Central government to submit a rehabilitation plan for the farmers in Andaman and Nicobar Island who were affected by 2004 Tsunami.

Many farmers from the island had lost their land and livelihood in the 2004 Tsunami.

The apex court has sought a report regarding rehabilitation of farmers, many of whom have no means of livelihood left after their land got washed away in the 2004 natural disaster.

The top court, which was hearing a bunch of applications over the issue, also noted that one of the major problems faced by the farmers is masses of land were washed away as a result of the Tsunami that struck the islands.

Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni told the court that “there is hardly any land available for compensatory afforestation.”

He also informed the bench that as much as 87 per cent of the land mass in the region is a natural notified forest.

The ASG, however, suggested that the “peculiar problems” faced by the farmers can be sorted out collectively by the officers of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration, officers of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

Reacting on the arguments, the bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur also asserted the factual validity of the same and said, “In our opinion, the suggestion made by the learned ASG is eminently reasonable.”

The bench further directed the Secretary, MoEF to have a meeting with the officers of the islands along with CEC.

The bench, also comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, ordered that the report should be placed before the court on October 23, the next date of hearing.

India was hit by a major Tsunami on December 26, 2004.