Guv reaches out to people, says Councils will be fully protected

Governor Satya Pal Malik speaking to media persons in Kargil on Friday. JAC Kargil chairman Sheikh Nazir is also seen. -Excelsior/Basharat Ladakhi

All issues will be addressed before Oct 31
‘Ladakh will get due Medical, Engg seats’

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 30: Governor Satya Pal Malik said today that Ladakh will now remain a Union Territory but all concerns raised by the people of Kargil will be addressed by New Delhi and State Government before October 31 when the UT will come into existence and assured that Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) will continue and Amendments effected in the twin Hill Development Councils of Leh and Kargil in 2018 will be fully protected.
“I have met delegations of the people of Kargil. Some of the issues raised by them pertained to New Delhi and others to the State Government. We will address their issues which are in the domain of the State before October 31 and refer remaining concerns to New Delhi,” Malik told media persons in Kargil after the meeting.
As far as the grant of Union Territory status to Ladakh is concerned, it will remain, the Governor said, adding: “Now we have to aim maximum development in Ladakh’’.
On quota of Ladakh in 50,000 jobs announced by the State Government, the Governor said this hasn’t been worked out but Ladakh will get its due and moreover, none is going to come from outside to work here.

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Joint Action Committee (JAC) Kargil Chairman, Sheikh Nazir told reporters after meeting with the Governor that they have submitted 13 points charter to Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam yesterday and the Governor today.
“Name of the UT shouldn’t be Ladakh but Kargil-Leh UT,’’ Nazir said, adding the Governor has assured them that some of their issues will be forwarded to New Delhi and rest will be addressed by the State Government.
On future course of action, the JAC chairman said they will wait till October 31 and if their issues were not addressed by then, they will decide next action plan thereafter.
“The Governor has assured us that Leh and Kargil are two eyes for the Government and they will get equal share,’’ Nazir said.
Malik said the LAHDC Act amended in 2018 would continue even under the Union Territory.
“The existing LAHDC Act makes the Councils (both Leh and Kargil) as most powerful Councils in the country and would provide adequate scope for the people to fulfill their development aspirations. If more steps are needed to strengthen the Councils, this would also be done,’’ he said, adding that the arrangement of HoDs posts created during formation of Ladakh division would be shared equitably between Leh and Kargil.
On significant issues raised by the delegation pertaining to seats in medical, engineering and other professional courses, the Governor assured the people that the seats would continue to be kept available to Ladakh during the bifurcation process
“The Committee dividing assets and liabilities would ensure this. The Central Government would also be requested to reserve some seats for students in national educational institutions,’’ Malik said and assured the delegations that nothing would be done to harm long term interests of the people of Kargil.
Malik assured the delegation that as far as the status of Jammu and Kashmir laws which are being made applicable to Ladakh and their future status if they get amended by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly are concerned, the issue would be examined immediately and corrective measures taken under the State Reorganization Act using the provisions to remove difficulties.
“On future amendments by the Central Government, the people of the region would be consulted by the Lt Governor while proposing changes,’’ he said.
The details of the mechanism by which posts and employees would be split between J&K and Ladakh was explained to the delegation. “As a UT which would be almost 100% tribal, protections to tribals can be ensured under various provisions of the Constitution. With increased development and growth, there would be more employment opportunities for the youth’’.
Malik said as far as other policy matters and protections are concerned, there are a number of provisions in the Constitution protecting the interests of STs and tribal areas. The National Commission for STs would be asked to visit the area, discuss all matters and propose measures for ensuring adequate provisions for protecting the interests of tribal areas and STs, the Governor said.
He said the Ministry of Tribal Affairs would also send a delegation of senior officials to work out modalities for ensuring benefits of all national schemes reach the people of Kargil.
The Governor assured the delegation that the interests of the people of this beautiful district were close to his heart and he would take all steps for their progress.
“The Kargil airport would be made a commercial jet capable airport for which preparatory work is going on. Kargil, Drass, Zanskar and all other areas would then become top class tourist destinations. Assistance would be provided for completing the Kargil Bhawan in Delhi and the Council Secretariat. Work on the Zojila Tunnel would be expedited. The two new degree colleges would be operationalised soon.
“Vacancies at all levels would be filled up at the earliest. And most importantly, Kargil would be getting top priority for meeting its development need,” Malik said.
The Governor requested the delegation to be patient and see for themselves the results on the ground in a few months.
The Governor assured the delegation that the entire nation admires and values the patriotism of the people of Kargil and the sacrifices they have made for the nation. Therefore, he said, no injustice would be done to the people of Kargil at any point of time.
“The nation wants Kargil to prosper along with the rest of the nation and become a partner in the country’s economic progress. In fact, the recent decisions of the Government were meant to benefit the people of Ladakh, including Kargil, and speed up their progress as they would now be directly linked to the Union Government,” Malik said.
The Governor assured the delegation that all steps would be taken to protect the identity, culture, heritage, language and social values of the people of Kargil.