As the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) constituted a high-powered committee headed by Minister of State Nityanand Rai to “ensure protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh, is being welcomed by the political parties.
The constitution of the 17 member committee is welcome step, says Konchok Stanzin, councillor Chushul and former Executive Councillor Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh. He said the political leaders of Leh and Kargil have been asking for it for the almost past four years. “There are some specific issues like protection of land and jobs for Ladakhi people and they should be the priority of the committee,” Stanzin said.
According to the MHA order the committee will “discuss measures to protect the region’s unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and its strategic importance.”
For the past three years after abrogation of Article 370, the Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance, an amalgam of different political groupings of the region have been seeking constitutional safeguards on the lines of the 6th schedule to safeguard the demography, environment, and unique culture of Ladakh. They also seek two Lok Sabha seats for the region and a Rajya Sabha seat, and a filling up of 10,000 to 12,000 vacancies to overcome unemployment in the region. After the abrogation of Article 370 and Ladakh becoming a separate Union Territory.
The constitution of high powered committee comprising Lt Governor of Ladakh UT Radha Krishna, MP Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal; Chairman of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh, Chairman of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Kargil, Joint Secretary MHA, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Affairs, Director, Deputy Secretary MHA, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and one nominated member from MHA. The committee will also have members from Apex Body Leh and Kargil Democratic Alliance.
“The constitution of the committee is in the interest of Ladakh. It would help to address the taking on board all stakeholders,” says Er Punchok Tashi, an executive councillor, LAHDC Kargil.