Dream fulfilled: A year of development and progress in Union Territory of Ladakh

As promised to the people of Ladakh, the Modi government granted UT status to Ladakh in the historic decision taken on the 5th of August besides initiative several development projects that aim to build a clean, green, healthy, and wealthy Union Territory of Ladakh.

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Dream fulfilled: A year of development and progress in Union Territory of Ladakh
Ladakh BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal participates in 73rd Independence Day celebrations along with students and local people on August 15, 2019

The central government carved out two union territories -- Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) -- out of the erstwhile state of J&K on August 5 last year, fulfilling the long pending demand of the Ladakhi people. 

Ladakhi people in 1949 placed their first request for being declared as a Union Territory so that the development needs of the region can be fulfilled adequately, but the successive government in consonance with Gupkar Road elites completely ignored the legitimate demands of the people of Ladakh.

The agitation for the demand had begun under Kushok Bakula and later carried forward by another Ladakhi leader Thupstan Chhewang. Both represented Ladakh in Parliament.

As promised to the people of Ladakh, the Modi government granted UT status to Ladakh in the historic decision taken on the 5th of August besides initiative several development projects that aim to build a clean, green, healthy, and wealthy Union Territory of Ladakh.

The government has already initiated a host of development projects focussing Ladakh: 

1. 220 kV Srinagar- Alusteng - Drass- Kargil – Leh Transmission System completed and dedicated to the public in February of 2019

2. With this, Ladakh became connected to the National Grid and ensured a reliable, quality power supply to the region

3. Now, power could be supplied even in winters and surplus power can be evacuated from there in summer. This will help in reducing reliance on diesel, boosting the economy and protecting the environment

4. PM Modi also inaugurated a 9MW Dah Hydro-Electric Project and dedicated 220 KV (S/C) transmission line for overall electrification of every household in February of 2019

5. 255 Km long all-weather Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley has been constructed enabling year-round connectivity between Karakoram Pass and Leh in 2019 itself

6. Work on building a new terminal building of the KBR Airport in Leh and Ladakh in Jammu-Kashmir also started in 2019

Massive financial allocation for development of Ladakh

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also announced development package for Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh in 2015

2. After the formation of UT, 9 projects with an outlay of Rs 21,441 crore were transferred to the UT of Ladakh

3. An unprecedented amount of Rs 5,958 crore was allocated for the development of Ladakh for the fiscal year 2020-21

5. Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh also held a conference with CII to promote industry and tourism in Ladakh 

Education for All Ladakhis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also gave a green signal to the plan for the first Central University in Ladakh along with a Center on Buddhist Studies, fulfilling a long-standing demand of Ladakhis. The proposed central university will offer degrees in all courses such as liberal arts and basic sciences.

Earlier, over 10,000 Ladakhi students were forced to travel hundreds of kilometers away from their home for higher education would now benefit from this decision. 

Other decisions taken for Ladakhi people include 5% seats are allocated in the UG programmes of NIT Srinagar; Khelo India winter games were held in Ladakh for the first time in February this year.

Energy Rich Ladakh: The central government has approved Rs 50,000 crore grid-connected solar photo-voltaic project spread across Leh and Kargil districts. So far, this is the single biggest investment proposal in the region since Ladakh was designated as a Union Territory.

The renewable energy ministry plans to eventually scale it up to a 23,000 MW grid-connected Ultra Mega Solar PV project in Ladakh, with the 7,500 MW package forming the first part of the larger project.

PM Modi has vowed to make the Ladakh Carbon Free region in the coming years. Rs 500 crore Mission Organic Development Initiative (M.O.D.I) and Greenhouse Project have recently been started in Ladakh.

M.O.D.I which promotes organic agriculture will be implemented in three phases: Under Phase I, around 66 villages in the region of Leh and Kargil will be converted into organic villages by the end of March 2021; under Phase II, around 85 villages of Ladakh will get the certification by 2023. The remaining 90 villages of Leh and Kargil districts will be declared as organic by 2025 in Phase III.

Ladakh Greenhouse project has also been started to promote the use of Greenhouses in Ladakh. The project is targeted to increase the availability of vegetables throughout the year through deep winter and to establish around 1676 greenhouses in the Leh and Kargil districts over 2 years of time with a budget of Rs 76.44 crore.

Preserving Culture and Promoting Tourism in Ladakh

1. Statue of Sengge Namgyal, the 17th century Namgyal dynasty King of Ladakh has been opened

2. Known as the Lion King, Sengge Namgyal is remembered by the locals for commissioning many monasteries, palaces, and shrines

3. Eco-tourism and cultural tourism are being promoted big time in Ladakh by the government

4. Cultural tourism by the way of homestay in the monasteries which are present in almost all important parts of the region is being planned

5. Eco-tourism and ecological activities like bird watching, wildlife safaris, etc are also being promoted

6. Siachen Glacier is now open for tourism exposing tourists to not only the beautiful terrain of Ladakh but also show the hardships faced by our Jawans

Infrastructure build-up in Ladakh

1. This massive infrastructure development will not only benefit the people of Ladakh by making their commute easier and facilitating tourism but also strengthen India’s border infrastructure.

2. Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge, which has been constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in a record time of 15 months, will not only provide all-weather connectivity in the region but also be a strategic asset in the border areas.

3. 82 Meter Span Motorable Bridge over River Shayok at Rongdo in Nubra opened

4. Bids for Zojila tunnel and floats tenders for preparation of DPR for Shinkun-La, Tanglang-La, and Lachaung- La tunnels have been invited.

Keeping Ladakh connected: Construction of as many as 54 mobile towers under the Universal Service Obligation Fund has started in Ladakh. 

Some remote villages such as Yulchung, Neyraks, Linshed, Photoksar, which remains cut off for six months from Leh during the winters, will get the mobile service before winter.

Mobile towers will work through the satellite connection not requiring optical fibre cable connection and are expected to function within a few months.

PM Modi’s visit to Ladakh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Ladakh near the army base at Nimu during the height of border tensions. He was accompanied by CDS Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Gen MM Narawane. It was not only a statement of power but also a sign of standing solidly with people of Ladakh and the Indian Army.

PM Modi later visited the injured soldiers in Leh, sending a message that India stands with its Bravehearts. While addressing Army, Air Force, and ITBP soldiers, PM Modi spoke of valour witnessed from Leh to Kargil and Siachen, saying "if we worship Lord Krishna playing the flute, we also revere Lord Krishna carrying a Sudarshan Chakra."

The Prime Minister further said that the weak can never have peace, only the mighty can and that Indian armed forces are that might. Conveying a message to China, he said the era of expansionism is over and that India is capable of protecting its borders.

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