A delegation of leaders from Ladakh region today met defence minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi informing him that the army has put curbs on nomads grazing their livestock on the traditional pasture lands on the Indian side of the border.
“We nomads on the Indian side are soldiers without uniform. The Indian army must trust us by not restricting our movements relating to grazing,” read the representation to the defence minister by an independent member of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, 33-year-old Konchok Stazin.
The delegation comprised former MP Thupstan Chhewang, border representative Lobzang Choezin and Konchok Stazin. Stazin told Outlook that the defence minister’s response to their representation was positive.
Stazin represents the border constituency of Chushul in Ladakh region in the LAHDC and has been forcefully raising the border issues. He has been saying that the closure of the winter pastures in the border areas of Ladakh would lead to animal mortality and will make living in border villages difficult.
“Phobrang village is a revenue village comprising three hamlets, Laung, Yourgo and Phobrang. They earn their livelihood via their livestock by producing the world’s finest pashmina and yak wool. While the Chinese use their nomad community to transgress on our land in a step-by-step approach, the movements of the nomads of this side of the border are restricted by Indian Army,” the representation said.
In the letter, Stanzin said the recent skirmishes with China have made it necessary for India to secure the border villages by providing all infrastructure and development amenities. It has asked for providing the same facilities in the border villages which are available at the urban centres to make them smart villages.
The letter also asked for an internet connection in the border villages. It said in the absence of reliable internet connectivity, the border villages in Ladakh feel neglected.
The letter said villagers living along the India-China border serve the Indian Army and many times voluntarily. The letter said the Indian Army engage their ponies and provide them with wages for their services. “I am being approached by many villagers regarding non-payment of their dues since September last year,” the letter said and has sought the defence minister’s intervention for release of payment.
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