PC on External Affairs reviews situation in Eastern Ladakh with MEA, MHA, MoD Reps

7 PSCs, Ministers plan visits to J&K, Ladakh
*Will assess requirements, recommend necessary steps

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, May 18: Seven Parliamentary Standing Committees (PSCs) followed by Ministers are scheduled to visit Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir to review working of Government Departments and study the situation in the two Union Territories and recommend measures required to be taken in different fields for development etc.
The Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs has reached Leh for talks with representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) besides other Departments of the Central Government to review their working, assess their requirements and recommend requisite steps.
The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology headed by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will be visiting Ladakh from May 29 for two days.
The Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs is headed by PP Choudhary and has nearly 30 members including Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Preneet Kaur, Poonam Mahajan, Navneet Rana, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Jaya Bachchan, P Chidambaram, Prakash Javadekar, Kapil Sibal and Sanjay Raut.
The Committee held discussions with senior representatives of the MEA, MHA and MoD in Leh today and will return tomorrow.
The visit of Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs came amidst ongoing standoff between Sino-Indian troops along Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh for nearly two years now. While disengagement has taken place in some of the areas, troops of India and China remained in eyeball-to-eyeball position at many other areas in Eastern Ladakh.
The Committee also held meeting of its members after interaction with various representatives in Leh.
Next Parliamentary Committee to visit Ladakh is of Information Technology which is headed by Shashi Tharoor. It is also expected to be in Ladakh for two to three days from May 29 and will meet top brass of administration in the Union Territory.
Sources said a total of seven Parliamentary Committees are likely to visit Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir shortly.
The visits of some Ministers have also been planned in both the Union Territories.
The Parliamentary Panels as well as Ministers will meet senior representatives of the Government and administration in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh and review with them developmental works, welfare measures for the people and security situation along the borders and hinterland.
Last year also, a number of Parliamentary Committees and 70 Ministers had visited Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Number of Ministers visiting Ladakh was less. The visits were part of Public Outreach Programme initiated by the Central Government.
“The Public Outreach Programme of the Ministers is yet to be finalized,” sources said, adding prior to that visits of some of the Ministers are likely to take place in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The Ministers on their return to New Delhi after visiting different parts of the Union Territory had submitted reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office last year just like they had done in 2020 when the Public Outreach Programme was first started. The MHA and PMO had forwarded issues raised by the people and pointed out by the Union Ministers in their reports to the Jammu and Kashmir for addressing them.
“Some of the issues which pertained to the Central Ministries were addressed by the Government of India while rest were referred to the J&K Government,” sources said.
Such tours by the Ministers had also proved highly successful in the North East also resulting into redressal of public grievances to quite an extent.
In 2020, 36 Central Ministers had visited the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from January 18-24 and toured several far off areas as well. They had submitted their recommendations to the MHA as well as PMO then and issues raised by the people were addressed by the Central and the UT Governments.
In 2021, nearly 70 Ministers were part of the Public Outreach Programme.
Besides Ministers, 13 Parliamentary Standing Committees comprising around 300 Members of Parliament (MPs) has visited the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had also visited for a week-long tour of Ladakh and Kashmir.