Major transformation in developmental profile of Ladakh UT in nearly 2 years: Lt Governor

Despite challenges, all Govt offices made fully functional in short span
All decisions are driven by Carbon Neutral strategy
Special attention being paid towards border areas

Mohinder Verma

LEH, Sept 17: Despite so many challenges on various fronts, the developmental profile of the Union Territory of Ladakh has undergone major transformation during the short span of nearly two years with administration paying required attention towards all the important sectors, which otherwise remained out of the focus of the successive Governments in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, the new administrative structure has been made fully functional at all the levels by utilizing the services of whatever manpower and resources kept at the disposal of the Union Territory and given the present pace of work and constant monitoring at various levels the administration will be in a position to boast of about building completely transformed Ladakh in next few years.
In a first ever exclusive interview to EXCELSIOR, a month before the completion of two years of formation of Ladakh Union Territory, Lieutenant Governor Radha Krishna Mathur said, “the people of both the districts aspire for infrastructure like better health care services, quality education, proper road connectivity, uninterrupted power supply, irrigation facilities, telecommunication services and economic development”, adding “my administration is working relentlessly to deliver on all these issues and in many sectors the results are also visible on ground”.
Stating that developmental activities are going on in all the sectors, the Lieutenant Governor, who has already conducted the tour of the Union Territory extensively particularly during the peak of the winters in 2019 and 2020, said, “health sector in particular has been developed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for overall betterment, several works are presently underway”.
An MRI machine has been set up while a Digital Radiography System and an Echo Cardiography Screening Machine are being set up. Moreover, funds have been released for the construction of hubs of Super Specialty Services like Cardiology, Neurology and Neurosurgery. Further, preparations have been started for setting up of a Government Medical College.
In the field of education, the Ladakh Union Territory administration has already made two Satellite Campuses of Kashmir University a part of the Ladakh University. Even Center of Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan Studies and Tribal Research Centre have been established in Kargil district.
“With the recently announced Central University, the higher education scenario of Ladakh will be more stronger and this will create many new opportunities for the youth of the Union Territory”, the Lieutenant Governor said, adding “emphasis is being laid on developing sports infrastructure including round the year functional Ice-Hockey Rinks in both the districts. Further, development of fully-equipped indoor stadiums is being stressed on”.
About the developmental activities in the border areas, which generally claim neglect, Mathur said that special attention is being paid towards all these areas and work has started on various initiatives for the development of Changthang area. Last year, the administration sanctioned Rs 129.50 crore package for the area and additional funds to the tune of Rs 91.97 crore under Special Development Package. Further, an amount of Rs 23.53 crore was approved under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) for the development of Changthang region. “The results will be visible on ground shortly”, he added.
When asked about the steps initiated to make Union Territory Carbon Neutral as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Lieutenant Governor said, “one of our efforts in last two years has been the development of the renewable energy sector. Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) have been signed with various energy companies which will soon start their projects which include solar, wind, geothermal and hydrogen-based”, adding “with the establishment of these projects, Ladakh will become self-reliant in energy sector”.
Similarly, under MODI Scheme, 64 villages have been marked as chemical-free villages for distribution of bio-fertilizers. Moreover, MoU has been signed with Sikkim State of Organic Certification Agency to convert Ladakh into an Organic UT by 2025 and two Organic Farmer Facilitation Centers in both districts have been set up.
“The Power Department is striving to provide clean and reliable grid power supply in off-grid areas. Even work is on to achieve the target of replacement of Diesel Generation sets and soon Ladakh will become the first UT/State in the country to use 100% renewable energy”, Mathur said.
In reply to another question, he said, “development of Ladakh as Carbon Neutral is a great mantra for us and a Vision Document-2050 for infrastructure development of Ladakh has been drafted. For the achievement of this Vision, all decisions of the UT administration are driven by a Carbon Neutral strategy, which is in sync with the aims and aspirations of the people of the Union Territory”.
Responding to query about infrastructure for smooth functioning of all the offices in the UT, Mathur said, “despite many challenges we have made all the offices functional in the shortest possible time with whatever manpower and resources kept at our disposal. However, creation of permanent infrastructure will take few more years as in Ladakh there is very limited working season. The shortage of skilled manpower and non-availability of construction material are the other impediments”.
When asked about coordination with the Hill Development Councils in both the districts, the Lieutenant Governor said, “the Hill Councils and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are working in close coordination with the UT administration for the development of Ladakh”.
Stating that various initiatives are being undertaken for strengthening and empowering these Councils, he said, “along with an increased budget allocation, major emphasis is on capacity building and cooperative participation in decision making”, adding “the Hill Councils and PRIs have actively contributed in all the decisions, initiatives and projects that have taken place ever since the formation of Union Territory”.
About process to fill posts in different departments, Mathur said, “filling up of vacant positions is a priority of the administration and Reservation Rules have been notified in this regard. Moreover, the administration is working on rationalization of departments”.
“Also with the help of human resource management experts, the Recruitment Rules are almost complete. On the proposal of UT administration, Staff Selection Commission has given consent for the recruitment of non-gazetted staff”, the Lieutenant Governor said, adding “as an interim measure, recently Ladakh administration issued the Resident Certificate order which defines a resident of UT for the purpose of appointment to non-gazetted posts”.
When asked about implementation of Central Laws, he said, “so far Ladakh UT has adopted 44 Central Laws and 170 Laws of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir”. He named some of the Central Acts of vast significance which stand applicable. These include Aaadhar (Target Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, Forest Conservation Act, 1980, RTI Act, Public Safety Act and National Security Act.
As any adverse development on the borders badly impacts tourism, the Ladakh UT administration is working on strengthening alternative livelihoods especially in agriculture and allied sectors that can make Ladakh self-sustainable. The administration is also working on plans to tap potential of sectors such as horticulture as well as medicinal and aromatic plants and bolster them with technological interventions.

Decision on Ladakh Administrative, Police, Forest Services shortly
The Union Territory of Ladakh will soon have its own Administrative, Police and Forest Services as the administration is in constant touch with the Union Home Ministry in this regard.
“Matters like the formation of Ladakh Administrative Services, Ladakh Police Services and Ladakh Forest Services are presently being discussed between UT administration and Ministry of Home Affairs”, Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur said.
“Similarly, discussion is on as far as increasing the strength of all the three All India Service (AIS) cadres is concerned and hopefully a final decision in this regard will be taken shortly”, he further said while talking to EXCELSIOR.