Q. First of all, congratulations on getting a majority in the recent Hill Council polls. What is 6th LAHDC’s short and long term plan?
In today’s time, we still have many villages which are deprived of proper road connectivity, electricity, and safe drinking water facility. Thus, our prime focus is to ensure basic needs to every people living far and near along with different other developmental activities. Urban migration is becoming one of the major concerns because people from rural areas are migrating towards town for better facilities and livelihood options; this has put huge pressure on the resources of Leh town. To curb this, people living in far-flung rural areas need to be provided with all the needed facilities and infrastructure.
Keeping the fragile ecosystem in mind, there is a need for plans and measures to protect the environment along with different developmental activities. A concrete plan and measures are needed for a clean and safe environment. We have to work towards sustainable development.
Q. After UT status, the inclusion of Ladakh under the sixth schedule is the biggest concern and demand of the people. Will the Hill Council call a special session to pass the resolution for the sixth schedule? How firm the council is for the demand?
The need for the safeguard after UT formation is felt and for which 5th LAHDC, Leh has passed a three-point resolution regarding it. The demand for the inclusion of Ladakh under the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution has been raised by the Apex body formed by the veteran leaders of Ladakh including His Eminence Thiksey Khanpo Rinpoche, Former MP Thupstan Chhewang, and Former Minister Chering Dorjay Lakruk. The movement has been supported by all and also have been assured by the Home Minister Amit Shah for the discussion and give Ladakh what is best for the region. When the assurances are made at such a high level, I feel it doesn’t make any sense to poke at the same issues again and again. We need to have some patience and trust.
If in case Ladakh doesn’t get the safeguard, Hill Council will raise the voice and work on it but for the time being, we have to wait for the meeting to be held between the Apex body and Home Minister. More confusion and chaos will be created if interfered with at all levels.
Q. State of the affair seems to be grim as COVID-19 cases and fatalities are on the rise in the Leh district. What measures and step Hill Council is taking to ensure the safety of the people?
COVID-19 pandemic has confronted the world with an unprecedented situation. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, healthcare workers are doing an extraordinary job. In Leh, the situation is alarming and as the harsh winter sets in, we have to make sure of various facilities such as heating, winter stocking, and many others.
I visited SNM hospital and Mahabodhi COVID dedicated hospital and took stock of all the facilities. Issues such as oxygen supply and manpower in the hospital were some of the rising concerns which have been taken care of. Installation of the transformer at Mahabodhi hospital has also been initiated. Similarly, we are also preparing the Ladakh Heart Foundation for COVID patients.
The crisis regarding infrastructural facilities, manpower has been taken care of and various other shortcomings are being addressed. All the preparation and needed facilities are being ensured but the responsibility lies upon each one of us to follow all the guidelines and SOP’s of COVID-19 and keep oneself and others safe. We all should take the pandemic seriously and act responsibly.
Q. More than 5,000 posts, including 1,000 gazetted posts, are lying vacant in different departments of UT Ladakh. Apprehensions among Ladakhi youths are increasing as the administration has so far not issued any notifications related to jobs. How Hill Council is going to tackle the unemployment issue.
The absence of domicile law is one reason because of which the job notification has not been issued so far. A domicile law has been announced for J&K, based on which the job notification has been issued. Youths of Ladakh are indeed suffering and years are getting wasted. We tried to find a solution, a middle way, but the voices have been raised that Ladakh is not going to accept the domicile rather demanded safeguard. In this confusion, the job notification has not been issued.
We have raised the issue with Lieutenant Governor and going to meet him once again regarding the same and propose to issue a temporary certificate to apply for the jobs so that unemployed youths can apply. Also, 99 posts are vacant in the district which will be notified soon.
Q. There was some kind of differences between the Hill Council and UT administration; the reason being people feel the Council is being undermined. How will you ensure to maintain the dignity of the Hill council?
The differences between the Hill Council and UT administration relation are not something which is being created purposely. Ladakh is a newly carved Union Territory and with this many changes have been brought which created much confusion. Adding to that pandemic situation has created more chaos and confusion. In this entire unprecedented situation, it made people feel that Hill Council is undermined. There is a need for an amendment in the LAHDC Act which has been put forward to the government of India to make the Hill Council more strengthened and empowered.
So far the UT administration and Hill Council are working in coordination for the betterment of people. The sanctity of Hill council will be maintained and we will not let it down.
Message to the readers
“As the festive season sets in, I would like to appeal to all the people of Ladakh to celebrate the festival with your families and avoid all the gatherings. Follow all the SOP’s guidelines and precautionary measures. Let’s keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19.”