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Ladakh

Expert Talk

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Tourism Industry
By Kunzang Chosdol, Tuesday, August 1, 2017

LEH:
EC Tourism Tsering Sandup:  The problem of outside investors in tourism-related business is always there in the past also. The issue will persist every year during the season if we don’t set up a policy and framework within Ladakh. 

Till today, there is no policy and guidelines through which we can have a smooth functioning of business among local people.

With the heavy influx of tourist from all over the world, the industry is growing very fast and we don’t have enough money to set up high-class hotel and guesthouses because local people are not empowered enough to set up such business which on the other hand leads to the involvement of outside investors. So we should understand that locals need to be empowered first and to carry out by ourselves without the involvement of outside investors or businessman.

If we keep on inviting and engaging business with outside investors, the day is not far when we have to work under them. 

Internally, there is a need to frame policy and guidelines at council level and a serious discussion is also needed for its set up and implementation with experts to avoid such issue in near future. Till today, the council has been acting as an intermediate and solves the problem internally with understanding.

Ladakh is a backward area and thousands of people are engaged in this industry as a source of their livelihood. On the other hand, our business is seasonal and the outsider should understand our problems. 

Solution

•    There is a need to set up a policy and framework for the long-term solution of such problems. 

•    There is a need for cooperation among the locals to carry out business among themselves and avoid partnership business with the outsider. This will help in circulating the income within locals and thereby empower our people.

•    Internal understanding is the best thing for both the unions and association. 

ADC Moses Kunzang: The hue and cry of transporters, travel agencies and all those who are directly and indirectly dependent on tourism and army for the businesses is prevalent because of the outside investors.
 
The problem will persist if there is no mutual understanding among the various unions of both sides. 

Ladakh has mostly depended on tourism and their business is seasonal people earns only for four to five months which needs to be understood by the outside investors as well as the locals should not interfere their business as well. 

In the past year, it was decided that the taxis from outside will drop the client to Leh and all the inner areas will be covered by the locals themselves.

The role of district administration is to uplift and help the locals and we are working for the welfare of public but when it comes to legal things we are helpless. For instance, if we talk about self-driven private rental cars like Zoom Cars, some gets a written permission from the court for not to operate in Leh and we are waiting for the court decision. However, we are also trying to sort out things from Zoom car owner, not to operate in Ladakh as it affects the seasonal business of locals.

Secondly, the association who gets into such problem should come first to the DC office and tell us about their problem so that we can solve the issue at the initial stage. But what happens is that without our concern people start protesting causing more problems and which in turn tarnishes the image of Ladakh.  The main reason of the recent hue and cry by transporters was due to the communication gap between the administration and all the unions.

The transporter problem has been solved more or less. We are going to take up this issue with higher authority as the highway to highway should be spared for the outsiders. However, inner areas like Leh to Pangong, Leh to Nubra etc should be operated by the locals. 

A meeting was held for Bikers problem, in which a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the unions of Leh and Manali. Both the stakeholders will operate through highway, drop the clients and back to their destination. If this tradition follows there will be no issues in the future also. 

Solutions: 

•    In terms of business within inner areas, locals only should involve.

•    An understanding between both the unions is necessary.

•    In case of any problem, one should first inform the District Administration otherwise it creates more problems. There is council through which we can solve the problem using political channel also.

•    The priority of an administration is to work for local and they should come forward.

•    Highway to Highway should be spared for the outsiders, whereas inner areas will be for the locals.

Shafi Lassu, Advocate: Ladakh has a very limited business season of five to six month in which people manage to earn their livelihood for the whole year. But if these limited periods of business are hindered by the outsiders then where will the people of Ladakh go? How can we meet our livelihood?

If we talk about India as a democratic country, everyone has a right to travel and set up business everywhere in the country but the case of Ladakh is different. We have only five or six months during which we earn our livelihood for the whole year, and for almost six months we remain cut off with the rest part of the nation. This thing should be understood by the outsiders. There is always internal understanding in every region not to interfere in each other business. If other regions are following internal understanding, why can’t we follow the same? 

Everyone has legal right to seek the help of a court but at the same time, one has an equal right to raise voice against it. There are certain things in court which that are difficult to implement because it depends on the well-being and interest of the public.

The policy of govt. to provide the developmental scheme for border people is to empower the people so the court could no longer issue an order without examining the whole things. 

In 1999, Operation Vijay, people of Ladakh have put their heart and soul in assisting the Indian Army as a social responsibility and without taking a single penny we volunteer to help them. The then Defence Minister of India, Sharad Pawar applauded for our timely help and support in oddest hours as the road was blocked during the war. He issued a standing order under the mission “Empowerment” which aims to empower the locals. The mission states that every kind of business related to army and tourism should be given to locals through negotiatiating a contract. 

If the outside investors and businessman snatch our business how can we get the livelihood? 

The outsiders should understand the feelings and sentiments of local, the inner areas are the only source  from where local can earn something for their livelihood whereas the outsider are earning throughout the year and all way to Manali and Srinagar without any hindrance. It is against the constitution if they force to operate the business in inner areas also because local has also the right to empower in their own areas.

Solutions:

•    The outside investor is welcome Highway to Highway but the business of the inner area should only get for the locals.

•    The outsider investors should understand the problem of Ladakh, keeping in mind the limited business season. 

•    The local people should be empowered and get the share of the business. 

•    The local has social responsibility and concern for environment whereas , the outsiders focus mainly on business and money.



 
                   
 
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