By Sanjay Balan
Recently I came across wonderful news about a new species of frog having been discovered in the Andamans.
It is a – Tree Frog.
That made me think how would it have evolved as a ‘Tree’ frog! Mixed some logic and presto….. I had the answer too!
He must have tried the sea as it was easiest to access in an island. However, the waters were unwelcome to him. The waters around were already declared as some sanctuary or the other reserve. Crocs lurking here and there were always a threat. So he tried the biggest water reservoir – it got dry too often due to it being the only source of water for the humans living on the main island. He had to leave that too perplexed that territory having 3000 mm rainfall or so per annum still has so much scarcity of water!
He then tried moving into the Municipal area. But was pushed out beyond 20 Kms radius of the Airport due to restrictions on activity around airport. He was obviously shooed away from lands adjoining Defence area because of restrictions imposed there!!!! The Electricity guys used the new Electricity Act as an excuse to throw him off the poles erected by them. Roads were also choked with vehicles parked in an ‘as my wish state’ and the resultant nuisance of traffic over it made it impossible for him to adapt. He tried calling up his relatives but phone connection was either one way or he got disconnected immediately after uttering the word ‘hello’.
By now he knew it was an ‘unsmart’ move to have thought about living in an ever evolving ‘smart’ city.
He found most villages located in the island adjoining sea only and therefore, happily landed up near the sea yet again. Here he found the CRZ norms had made life hell for him. Tried to find some open space, but all were encroached by someone or the other. Hard luck on this count too. Tried moving about in the rural area and he found that the blunderous zones and development norms in the oxymoronly named ‘Master Plan’ prevented him from making any headway there.
During his journeys across villages, he even had occasion to find land being claimed as their own by the Forest Department / the Revenue Department and individual humans- all at the same time! He was told that this exists from last four decades and would continue for another few decades at the least!!!
He is still searching answers for ‘deemed forest’ concept. He knew that villages were carved out initially from jungle only and after making allotments, the remaining area was kept as land for future use. Naturally they retained character of forest and if this very land is now declared back as forest, what was the point in keeping them as part of land for future development! He was confused also at the fact that why revenue land used for raising commercial forest trees for future use have been re-declared as forest land and in the name of monocropping are now getting converted back into forest!
Aghast as such a scenario, he thought of buying some land near Caddle Gunj. The human owner asked Rs 30 lakhs for the land and informed him to pay Rs One crore or so too as official stamp duty due to the circle rate and enhanced tax imposed on junglees! His hopes were put paid here also.
He tried to build a house by leasing a land but then found timber is not available (with over 90% forest cover and forest produce going waste without any sustainable tapping) – sand is not available (sandy beaches all around) – stone is not available. Even if available, the cost of construction material was going through the roof. So…. He had to drop this idea too.
He was prevented by PAT Regulation from entering or staying in tribal reserve area and naturally, he could not find his feet there even. Other islands looked green and cosy from a distance but he was unable to reach there due to transportation / logistic and survival issues!
Finally, he thought of meeting the Bada Saab perched atop the Bada Tikri to make him aware of his plight. He was stopped at the gate and told in a threatening tone that it is a heavily fortified area and junglees/small creatures can’t enter just like that. He tried to narrate his woes at the gate but was told that ‘Saab is very busy in welfare of the territory and saving the island’. He wondered out aloud -saving from whom? Out came the retort – from the junglees of course!
And then a guard whispered in his ears the life changing information that “no naturally grown trees can be cut in the islands”.
That was it… Bingo…. The safest place to survive… Up on the tree.
And,and, and….He became a ‘Tree Frog ‘.