UT will help Ladakh to maintain ethnic identity: Munda

Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda inaugurating the ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ at Leh on Saturday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda inaugurating the ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ at Leh on Saturday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

Avtar Bhat
Jammu, Aug 17: Maintaining that grant of Union Territory (UT) status to Ladakh region will help it to maintain its ethnic identity in the entire world, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda today said that his Ministry will provide all cooperation and help to the region in preserving its age old traditions and cultural heritage.
The Minister who formally inaugurated Aadi Mahotsav (National Tribal Festival) a joint initiative of the Tribal Affairs Government of India and Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India in Leh today, said people of Ladakh are known world over for their simplicity, humanity and hardwork.
The Union Minister said after granting the UT status, the entire team of his Ministry has visited here to enjoy people’s company and simplicity for which Ladakh is famous. He said the people here worked hard for attaining the UT status to this region and did not allow any body to erode their unique identity and rich culture.
“We have also come here to help you in maintaining your identity and rich cultural heritage as well as work along with you for the development and prosperity of the region”, Munda said while lavishing praises on Ladakhis. He said new steps will be taken by the Aadi Mahotsav to maintain the unique identity of Ladakh.
The Minster on behalf of people of Ladakh region complimented the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for taking care of the emotions and sentiments of the people of the region and fulfilling their dreams.
He also briefed the gathering on the occasion about the schemes and activities of his Ministry to support the Tribal artisans of the region. He said that the national object of inclusive development (Sabka Vikas) includes the development of tribes as an important component.
“Our Constitution enjoins upon the Government the responsibility of addressing the special needs of the Tribes. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is committed to the overall development of tribal people across the country who are deprived of the many schemes of the Government,” he said.
Munda said the Government plans to setup 3000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra (VDVK) across the country in 2019-20 which include 13 VDKVs planted to setup in Ladakh alone.
While interacting with the artists, he lauded their significant role in the protection, preservation and promotion of the rare folk art and craft of the country. He expressed his happiness to have successfully launched the event.
Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh highlighted the objective of Aadi Mahotsav saying that artisans from 20 States with their products are participating in this nine-day festival. She said that this event also gives an opportunity to Ladakhi Tribal artisans to come and get themselves empanelled and sell their handlooms and handicrafts through Tribes India stores. She also greeted the people of Ladakh for achieving UT status and said that the Tribal Ministry and other 40 Ministries of Union Government will take utmost care of Ladakh in every developmental process.
MP Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal(JTN ) welcoming the dignitaries extended gratitude to the Union Government led by PM Narendra Modi for granting UT status for Ladakh. He said that this will lead Ladakh to a new height of development in all spheres. At the same time, Ladakhis have also great expectation from Union Government in protecting its ethnic identity, culture, traditions and land by including Ladakh under the ambit of sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution, JTN added.
CEC, LAHDC, Leh Gyal P Wangyal addressing on the occasion appreciated the Tribal Ministry to organize Aadi Mahotsav in Leh soon after declaring Ladakh as Union Territory. This shows the Union Government’s care and concern for Ladakh, he said and demanded to ensure participation of Ladakhi handicrafts and handlooms in other national level exhibition. The CEC also demanded inclusion of Ladakh under Schedule 6th of Indian Constitution to protect its core interest.
Chairman Trifed RC Meena explained that apart from handicrafts, the Tribes gather from the forests a range of forest produces which include various tree-borne products like flowers, fruits, seeds, barks and leaves and various insect produces like honey.
The TRIFED Managing Director, Pravir Krishna, said “The theme of the first-of-its-kind festival in Leh-Ladakh is a celebration of the spirit of Tribal craft, culture, cuisine and commerce, which will roll out a spectrum of the rare folk art and craft of their respective states. As many as 200 artists and artisans, drawn from around 20 states of the country are participating in this festival, he said.
He added that TRIFED is engaged in ameliorating the lot of small and marginal artists and artisans by inviting them to such mega cultural event and offering them space and genuine price of their product from the buyers. This also helps them to get rid of the middlemen usurping their profits. He also added that TRIFED is promoting all their Tribal products on Online platform too which is Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm in a very aggressive way.
To mark the occasion, a scintillating cultural programme was also presented.
Those present on the occasion were Secretary Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI, former MLC Chering Dorjey, former Chairman, J&K Legislative Assembly, Haji Inayat Ali, EC Minority Affairs, Mumtaz Hussain, DC, Leh, Sachin Kumar Vaishya, SSP, Leh Sargun Shukla, officers from Tribal Ministry, religious, political and social heads.