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For Ladakh, Modi’s Acchey Din turns into broken and hollow promises
By Rinchen Angmo Chumikchan & Stanzin Dasal, Thursday, May 31, 2018

LEH:
The people of Ladakh are now realising that they were hoodwinked into believing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his second visit to Ladakh recently, would announce at least one of his key promises. Sadly, he has left them all in the lurch. 

The first visit was in 2014 soon after winning the LS election.

The PM was on a one-day visit here recently for the foundation-laying of Zojila tunnel and to attend the closing ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.

Paying rich tributes to the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, Modi said, “I feel fortunate that I got an opportunity to pay my tribute to the 19th Bakula Rinpoche on his birth anniversary.  He has contributed a lot to the overall development of Ladakh region”. 

Sharing his experiences while visiting Mongolia in May 2015, Modi said that even in Mongolia, Kushok Bakula was a well-known leader. 

“Perhaps, even in the diplomatic world, there are very few diplomats who have worked there and won the hearts of the people.  But Bakula Rinpoche has earned a lot of respect and is revered by the people of Mongolia”, he added. 
 
The Zojila tunnel project will provide an all-weather connectivity between Srinagar and Ladakh. It will also be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel and will be built at a cost of  ₹6,809 cr. It is expected to be completed in seven years. The tunnel will reduce the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from the 3.5 hours to 15 minutes
Nitin Gadkari, Minister, Road Transport and Highway, who was accompanying the PM,  said, ‘Though the completion period of the Zojila tunnel is seven years, we will try to complete it in five years.” 

People of Ladakh have now realised that the promises made by the BJP government are hollow as they have failed to deliver what they had promised.
 
Angchuk, President, National Conference, Leh, says, “The Modi visit and foundation-laying of  Zojila tunnel is a welcome step. But, it is disheartening that the Prime Minister did not mention about the three long-pending demands of Ladakh including Union Territory status, inclusion of Bhoti language in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution and the opening of Kailash Mansarovar route via Ladakh”.

“Worse, all these promises made during the election are still not being fulfilled.  They visit only when the elections are approaching. It is high time for the people of Ladakh to wake up as they cannot keep fooling the people always.”

Deldan Namgyal, MLA, Nubra, says, “The prime minister while addressing the people was well aware of the difficulties and challenges faced by Ladakhi people, and keeping that in mind he should have at least announced LPG subsidy and exemption from GST.”

However, the Prime Minister announced the setting up of a cultural centre, virtual/digital museum and a medical college, and CM Mehbooba Mufti demanded the establishment of an international-level indoor stadium, both at Leh and Kargil. 

Keeping in mind the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh, the PM said, “A cultural centre and a virtual/digital museum will be set up soon to attract researchers and tourist from all over the world”.  

Responding to the demand of a medical college in Leh, the PM said, “I will look into the matter seriously and direct the Centre and State governments to assess the possibility and submit the report.”

On the announcement of a medical college, Deldan Namgyal, MLA, Nubra, says, “Under the ₹ 80,000- cr development package for J&K announced by the Prime minister in 2015, the amount has already been earmarked and the medical college for the Jammu and Kashmir region has been sanctioned. And it is impossible to allot funds to set up a new medical college in Leh from the already distributed package. The medical college has not been announced in the last four years and it seems impossible to establish a medical college in one year as the next Lok Sabha elections are approaching.”

Tsering Samphel, President, DCC Leh, says, “After 2014, this is the second visit of the Prime Minister to Ladakh and the people had huge expectations. Among all the promises we were expecting that he will at least announce the inclusion of the Bhoti language in the 8th Schedule but unfortunately failed to meet the expectations of the people of Ladakh.”

Samphel further said that at least the PM should have clarified whether the demands can be fulfilled or not.
On the other hand, Tsewang Gonbo, President, BJP, says that they are satisfied with the announcement made by the Prime Minister.  He further says that the people of Ladakh should stand united to demand the UT status for Ladakh. 
 
Gonbo says, “We are satisfied with the PM announcement as per the expectation of the people of Ladakh. We have been demanding a central university along with a medical college for a very long time. The announcement to prepare a report for a medical college in presence of CM Mehbooba Mufti is a positive sign. He has also announced a cultural centre which is not a small thing. The cultural centre will help in preserving and promoting the rich culture and heritage of Ladakh.  And he also announced a virtual museum”.

“However, big demands like UT status, the inclusion of Bhoti language in 8th Schedule and opening of Kailash Mansarovar Route via Ladakh are not a one-man task. To get the UT status, we need to work hard in coordination. It is not only the responsibility of MP and MLC to demand UT status but the onus lies on the MLAs also”, says Gonbo.

Today, if UT status is delayed, it is due to lack of unity amongst us. It is very unfortunate that the demand for UT has not been raised in one voice. Once again, the people of Ladakh have failed to stand united for the overall development of Ladakh. Knowing that it was a big platform to keep our demands before the Prime Minister, all the political parties were busy in playing blame game and mudslinging. All our leaders have failed to raise the demand in one voice. This was the time for the political parties to forget their differences and work together.
 
Meanwhile, the Hill Council, Leh, headed by Dorjey Motup, has submitted a memorandum highlighting the establishment of National Institute of Sowa Rigpa in Leh, granting of special package for upgrading and streamlining of water supply schemes in Leh district, exemption of CGST and SGST taxes for the Scheduled Tribes living in Ladakh region, opening of Central University and Medical/Engineering College in Leh and regularisation of (37) Gonpa School teachers serving on contractual basis for the last 6-7 years.

The CEC has urged Prime Minister’s Office for intervention in issuing permission to the nomads residing in the border areas of Leh district to take their animals for grazing on traditional pasture lands being restricted by the Indian army now. He has also demanded to include Thoise Air Field in Nubra in the 3rd phase under UDAAN that will usher a new era of development of tourism industry in Nubra Valley.

In 2014, Nitin Gadkari promised to grant UT status for Ladakh within six months and it has been four years since the Modi Government came into power. The clock is ticking by and yet most of the key promises which they made during their election campaign are yet to be met. 

Every political party makes a slew of promises to voters before elections, thus raising their hopes and aspirations.
 
And, here in Ladakh, the Modi government’s Acchey Din promise is yet to be realised!

 
                   
 
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