May 2005 News

Vision For Leh

13 May 2005
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: It is good to note that a systematic attempt has been initiated to further develop Leh and the Autonomous Hill Council of the trans- Himalayan district has prepared a vision document for the purpose. According to reports appearing in this and other newspapers the emphasis has been laid on ensuring a fine balance between deep- rooted practices and traditions of the area and emerging opportunities in fields of tourism and infrastructural development. Leh is an international tourist destination in its own right and as the sole preserve of Buddhism in the State it gets further attention because of its imposing monasteries, talented and hard-working people who are adopting modern ways of living while retaining their old culture and customs and the urge for knowledge that has gripped the local youth as elsewhere in the State and the country. What is remarkable is that this district has covered a long journey during the last five decades from an isolated spot to a throbbing centre of hotel and hospitability industry. There is hardly any field that has not witnessed the impact of its young men and women, be it unconventional jobs like that of a commercial pilot or a tough activity like politics. Adventure and mountaineering come naturally to the local residents and their exposure to foreign visitors has led many of them to acquire knowledge of quite a few languages. It is but only natural that they should have been concerned about the continuing progress of their region although it is not clear why they have been hesitant to fix specific targets that they intend to achieve in the next quarter of a century. It goes without saying that sooner than later leaders of the Leh Council would have also to work out a joint strategy with their counterparts in Kargil for the overall upliftment of the Ladakh region which though administratively part of the Kashmir Division has a distinct and unique identity of its own. By holding a discussion on the document in Srinagar the Leh Council has sent a positive signal: this should help remove the misunderstandings that have cropped up between the two places because of a number of factors. In a world in which all economic barriers are being gradually demolished one can afford to work in seclusion at the risk of preventing one's own advancement. So far as the constituents of the same State are concerned they have every reason to live in close coordination for mutual benefit. We are fortunate to be part of the State that has tremendous diversity - - scenic, religious, regional and linguistic. A trip through it can expose a visitor to a wide range of features that he or she can rarely see within one State. For such a blessed land there is need to take a complete view: it is to be welcomed that a beginning has been made from one of its hallowed corners.

 

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