Take up contentious issue with MEA, MHA: Leh Adm to Govt

Take up contentious issue with MEA, MHA: Leh Adm to Govt

1 September 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Fearing flare up in anger among the people in border villages against repeated intimidations by the Chinese Army, the district administration has urged the State Government to immediately take up this contentious issue with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) so that development works in the areas bordering China don’t fall prey to threats from the forces of the neighboring country. Even the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has also been approached for stepping up security in the border villages to check unwarranted interference from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Official sources told EXCELSIOR that following abandoning of work on construction of irrigation canal Kuyul Gonbo Yardol at Phukchey due to threats from Chinese Army personnel in the month of July this year, there has been wide-spread resentment among the people of numerous villages against repeated intimidations from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and they have impressed upon the district administration as well as Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) to immediately get the unwarranted interference from the Chinese Army checked in order to prevent the situation from turning worst in future. Keeping in view the ‘tense’ situation in some villages along the LAC particularly Phukchey, which has been deprived of benefit under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) because of Chinese Army threat, the district administration has written to the State Government through Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, for immediate intervention in this contentious issue, sources said. In a communication to Divisional Commissioner vide No.DCL-PS-Misc-PLA-2012 dated August 22, 2012, the Deputy Commissioner, Leh, has mentioned 'in order to resolve this grave issue, the matter needs to be taken up with the External Affairs Ministry and also with Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, as the people are strongly showing their resentment for unnecessary harassment and stoppage of the developmental work which is being executed under BADP and caters to one of the remotest village bordering China in the Eastern Sector-Koyul'. 'Needless to mention here that work is being executed on the bonafide Indian side and the Chinese have no locus standi on the land which belongs to the people of Kuyul. Besides, large chunk of un-irrigated land to the tune of 400 hectares could be converted into pasture area as most of the nomads are dependent on their live-stocks and their main earning is by sale of raw Pashmina wools', the Deputy Commissioner said, adding 'the matter has also been taken up with 14 Corps for providing necessary security protection as the people in the border villages definitely require support and assistance not only from the civil administration but from the security forces as well'. In another communication addressed to DIG, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Deputy Commissioner while mentioning in the details the unfortunate incident that took place in Phukchey area in the month of July, which led to abandoning of work on construction of irrigation canal, has stated 'The matter is of serious nature as it involves the territorial jurisdiction and integrity of Leh district and work was being executed in our area. Since ITBP is guarding border and developmental work of our side has direct bearing on the economic development in the border villages in Nyoma Sul- Division and especially the border villages like Koyul, special attention on such development requires constant monitoring from the security forces'. 'Since the ITBP is supposed to give protection to the border villages from any such interference from across the border, you are requested to give all necessary assistance in ensuring full protection to the executing agencies in implementing an important project under BADP scheme and to ensure speedy completion of the ongoing work so as to build confidence among the border villages', the DC told the DIG ITBP. It has also been mentioned in the communication that in case the work on important project could not resume then the resentment among the villagers will further flare up and people’s confidence in the leadership of security forces will come down. 'It would be in the interest of the district administration and in the overall honour of the country to safeguard such interest', the communication said. It is worthwhile to mention here that work on the irrigation canal at Kuyul Gonbo Yardol was started in 2005-06 at an estimated cost of Rs 63.80 lakh under BADP Scheme. The source of the canal is River Indus and the work was started mainly for the development of pasture in Phukchey area and will cater to the villagers of Kuyul, which is around 240 kilometers away from Leh District Headquarters.