By Rhea Sovani
‘Islands in Flux: The Andaman and Nicobar Story’ by Pune/Hyderabad-based environmental activist Pankaj Sekhsaria documents the myriad threats to indigenous tribes and forest resources in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The book will be released at Baner’s Pagdandi Books Chai Cafe at 11 am on Saturday. It is a compilation of Sekhsaria’s writings and illustrations on issues and developments in the Islands — Sekhsaria spent 25 years researching them.
“It is imperative to look beyond the beauty of the Islands to pull our attention towards preserving them,” Sekhsaria says.
This is his second book based on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, his first being ‘The Last Wave’, in which he narrated through stories the challenges faced by the Islands today.
Sekhsaria is currently working on the socio-cultural, ecological and geological elements of the Islands.
He says that the occurrence of natural disasters in the Islands is always uncalled for and a more reasonable development and planning approach to the Islands is even more important given their volatile nature.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located in the seismic zone, an earthquake-prone area, and the December 2004 tsunami had a devastating impact on them.
“In its recent tourist programme under the NITI Aayog, the government has allotted funds to increase tourism in the region. This raises concerns about the possible dangers that would befall the native tribes as well as the environment,” said Sekhsariya.
As a member of environmental action group ‘Kalpavriksh’, and the ‘Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environment Team’, he conducted a six-month project to study the biodiversity and residents of the island chain.