‘Improve administrative outreach, public service delivery system’
*Explore establishment of more airports in UT
JAMMU, Mar 22: Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to enhance the budgetary allocations for the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council and Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Council during the Financial Year 2023-24 for infrastructure development of the Union Territory of Ladakh. Moreover, the Parliamentary Panel has laid stress on improving administrative outreach and public service delivery system by creating additional administrative posts and units in the Union Territory.
In its report tabled in the Lok Sabha yesterday, the Standing Committee comprising of 31 Members of the Parliament has noted that for Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council, an amount of Rs 740.29 crore was allocated at Budget Estimates (BE) 2022-23. This allocation was enhanced to Rs 754.53 crore at Revised Estimates (RE) 2022-23 against which Rs 500.67 core has been utilized till 31st January, 2023 (66.35% of RE). However, the allocation has been reduced to Rs 334.68 crore in Budget Estimates 2023-24.
For Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Council, an amount of Rs 742.14 crore was allocated at Budget Estimates 2022-23. This allocation was enhanced to Rs 756.37 crore at Revised Estimates 2022-23 against which Rs 568.55 crore has been utilized till 31st January, 2023 (75.16% of RE). However, the allocation has been reduced to Rs 333.32 crore in Budget Estimates 2023-24.
While seeking reasons for the curtailment, the Parliamentary Panel has recommended that the budgetary allocations may be enhanced for both the Hill Councils at Revised Estimates stage as devolution of financial power to the LAHDCs will help them in executing their developmental projects, adding “the expenditure of the two Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDCs) is good and therefore more funds may be granted to them”.
“Considering the large area of the UT of Ladakh, there is a need to strengthen the administrative institutions and infrastructure along with the delegation of powers to the local administrative units as such administration should assess the need for additional administrative posts in the UT and may take up with the MHA to fill up these posts for improving administrative outreach and public service delivery system”, the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee said, “there is also need for expansion of the administration of the UT by creating more districts, tehsils etc and devolution of financial and administrative powers”.
“We have also deliberated upon the possibility of generating power in the UT through renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy on a large scale and generating green cover on the barren land of the Himalayas which can aid in generating employment for local people”, the Committee said, adding “the UT of Ladakh receives good insolation being situated at a great height. It also has good wind resources due to its valley terrain and temporal variation and the same can be used for generating solar and wind power in the UT”.
Accordingly, the Committee has recommended that UT Administration should conduct a feasibility study for harnessing solar and wind power as well as other renewable energy sources to cater to the power requirement of the UT and for that it may rope in the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.
Observing that no substantial progress has been made in the construction of the infrastructure of the Medical College in Ladakh, the Committee said that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the construction of the Medical College is still under process/examination whereas the project was approved in 2019.
It has recommended that MHA may take up the case with the concerned Ministry/ Department on a priority basis to remove administrative bottlenecks and expedite the construction of the Medical College. In the meantime, the College may commence its academic activities from the existing hospital of the UT so that the medical students of the UT can get the option of pursuing medical education, the Committee said.
About the commencement of commercial flights from Kargil airport, the Committee said, “the acquisition of small aircraft to commence flights from Kargil airport is in progress as conveyed by the Ministry of Home Affairs”, adding “keeping in view the urgent requirement for flights from Kargil airport the MHA should take up the matter with the Ministry of Civil Aviation”.
It has also recommended that considering the large size and difficult topography of the UT, the establishment of airports at Nubra, Nyoma and Zanskar may also be explored to improve connectivity.