Major showdown between Ladakh UT Admn, BJP-led Council on return of stranded people

CEC LAHDC Leh Executive Councilors and Councilors protest outside the Raj Bhawan in Leh on Monday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
CEC LAHDC Leh Executive Councilors and Councilors protest outside the Raj Bhawan in Leh on Monday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

CEC, Executive Councilors protest outside LG office
*Admn agrees to draft roadmap, bear expenditure

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, May 4: In a major showdown between Union Territory of Ladakh administration and BJP-headed Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, the CEC-cum-Chairman of the Council, the Deputy Chairman, all three Executive Councilors and number of Councilors went on a dharna outside the Raj Bhawan in Leh today saying the administration isn’t taking steps to ensure return of stranded people of the UT in various States and the Council representatives are not being taken into confidence. Click here to watch video
Significantly, the National Conference led LAHDC Kargil also came out openly in support of the LAHDC Leh representatives saying the Councils comprised elected representatives of the people and they should be taken into confidence on evacuation of nearly 30,000 people of Ladakh stranded at different places across the country.
Showdown between the LAHDC Leh and the UT administration headed by Lieutenant Governor Radha Krishna Mathur came just a day after BJP UT chief Chering Dorjay resigned from the party post alleging bypassing of the Hill Councils by the UT administration and the party high command not taking their issues seriously.
LAHDC Leh CEC-cum-Chairman Gyal P Wangyal, Deputy Chairman Tsering Sandup and all three Executive Councilors, Puntsog Stanzin, Mumtaz Hussain and Konchok Stanzin joined by the Councilors marched towards the Raj Bhawan, which is called Raj Niwas in Ladakh, carrying a copy of memorandum. They wanted Mathur to come out and discuss the issues with them pertaining to evacuation of stranded people of the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Waiting for the Lieutenant Governor to come out, they staged dharna outside the Raj Bhawan saying there has been no roadmap prepared by the UT administration on bringing back the stranded people and even those who are being brought to Ladakh in the buses are being harassed enroute.
“We are forced to come here. The Councilors are not being listened to. The Lieutenant Governor must come out. Why can’t he walk 10-feet and come out to listen to us. We are sitting for an hour,” the CEC and Councilors shouted as Mathur didn’t come out of the Raj Niwas.
After sometime, Health Secretary Ladakh Rigzin Samphel came out of the Raj Niwas and explained to the agitated Hill Council representatives that it was cumbersome procedure to bring back the stranded people as it required consent of the States also where the people are held up.
Samphel said the UT administration will fund return of the stranded people and the Hill Councils of Leh and Kargil will prepare roadmap and lists of the people to be brought back from different States with the help of administration.
“The Councils will decide how to bring back the people. The UT administration will bear the expenditure,” Samphel said.
Wangyal earlier charged the administration with having no roadmap for bringing back the stranded students, workers, patients and general visitors of the Union Territory of Ladakh to different States where they were stuck following sudden announcement of lockdown in March.
Sources said the UT administration has also announced Rs 1 crore each for the two Hill Councils of Leh and Kargil.
Wangyal told the Excelsior that a formal announcement on formulation of plan for return of Ladakh people to the Union Territory will be announced at a joint press conference between the administration and LAHDC Leh representatives.
Earlier, a resolution adopted at the LAHDC Leh Executive Council meeting resolved to utilize Council Fund for the expenses of buses and other expenditure while assisting UT Ladakh administration for immediate evacuation of stranded patients, pilgrims and students from outside the UT.
The Council sought Action Taken Report of comprehensive roadmap from UT administration for evacuation of stranded patients, pilgrims, students from outside Ladakh and detailed report regarding steps taken for obtaining of inter-State movement permission and facilitation along with arrangement of transportation, lodging, food and security.
“Patients and old age persons with attendant must be evacuated by air transport. For the purpose, the UT administration should immediately take up the request with Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence for action,” the resolution said.
The Council resolved that unless and until the issues raised by them are resolved, the Executive Council will sit on strike. Thereafter, the Council shall be forced to take extreme step in the best interest of the people of Leh district, the resolution signed by the CEC/Chairman, Deputy Chairman and three Executive Councilors said.
LAHDC Kargil CEC-cum-Chairman Feroz Khan told the Excelsior that there has been no policy of Ladakh UT administration to evacuate around 30,000 stranded persons of Ladakh including students, general visitors, patients and workers.
“We are elected representatives of the people. The Union Territory administration must consult us and take us into confidence in ensuring return of stranded people. There should be coordination between the administration and two Councils,” Khan said and charged the administration with having no Policy to evacuate the stranded people.
Asserting that he was the first to raise the issue of bringing back stranded people of Ladakh, Khan said the administration shouldn’t waste any time to evacuate the people of Ladakh now from different states.