HM visits forward posts along China border in Leh

HM visits forward posts along China border in Leh

7 October 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today visited forward areas at Chushul in Leh district along Indo-China border to have first hand information of the situation prevailing on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) from top officials of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). On second day of his visit to Ladakh region, the first after taking over as the Home Minister, Mr Shinde flew to Chushul, located along the LAC on Sino-Indian border, from Leh this morning and visited forward Indian pickets of the ITBP, a para-military force, which has significant presence on the LAC with nearly four battalions. Shinde said Centre would consider giving a relaxation in physical standard and qualifications to the people of border areas in Leh so that they can be recruited in ITBP, BSF and other central security forces. Official reports received here said that Mr Shinde accompanied by top officials of ITBP, headquarters at Leh besides civil and police administration, visited a number of forward pickets of ITBP at Chushul area and interacted with field commanders and jawans of the para-military force to have on spot review of the situation prevailing along China border. The Union Home Minister also met some civilians living close to the LAC to take their view point on the situation along China border. Mr Shinde spent near one and a half hour along the border posts meeting the ITBP jawans and officers and local people before flying back to Leh on way to Amritsar district of Punjab where he visited Wagah border. He reportedly said that there was inadvertant border crossing and that Indian forces were alert to prevent such incidents. The Union Home Minister had yesterday detailed interaction with ITBP top brass in Leh at their Headquarters for a couple of hours. He also had night halt at the ITBP Headquarters. The district civil and police administration besides Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Chief Executive Councilor Rigzin Spalbar also briefed Mr Shinde on the situation prevailing along Indo-China border. The ITBP officials were reported to have given a detailed account of the situation in forward areas along Indo-China border including infrastructure being build up by China in its areas and preparedness of the Indian sides besides further requirements to match the neighbouring country. Sources said the Union Government has taken due note of the activities of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese people living in forward areas, who had sometimes, indulged in transgressions not only in Ladakh but also in parts of North East. The visit of the Union Home Minister to forward areas along China in Leh assumed significance as it was followed by the visits of Defence Minister AK Antony, Minister of State for Defence Dr M Pallam Raju and Army chief Gen Bikram Singh. All had a thorough review of the situation along China border. Mr Shinde had yesterday visited some forward areas along Pakistan border in Kargil district of Ladakh region. He also reviewed development scenario in Leh and Kargil by chairing high level meetings, attended among others by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, CAPD Minister Qamar Ali Akhoon, Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, DGP Ashok Prasad, CEC LAHDC Leh, Rigzin Spalbar, SSP Leh Vivek Gupta and Deputy Commissioner T Angchuk. Meanwhile, LAHDC Leh CEC Rigzin Spalbar along with other Councilors in a separate meeting with Mr Shinde urged him to get Rs 83 crore released from the Union Government for permanent restoration works after flood devastation of August 2010. Mr Spalbar told the Excelsior on telephone that the Centre had assured Rs 113 crore for permanent restoration works in Leh after flood devastation. Of this amount, Rs 30 crore worth works were done and the amount was drawn from the funds released by Special Task Force (STF). 'We have sought release of Rs 83 crore for completion of permanent restorations works’’, he said, adding Mr Shinde was very positive of the demand. Mr Spalbar said he also sought release of Rs 17 crore pending under Prime Minister’s Re-construction Plan (PMRP) for raising infrastructure of LAHDC Leh. He added that Rs 40 crore had been sanctioned under PMRP, of which, Rs 40 crore have been released while Rs 17 crore were pending. The CEC said he gave a detailed briefing to the Union Home Minister on Chinese activities along the border in Leh and sought effective measures including building of infrastructure to meet the challenge. Other demands of LAHDC Leh raised by Mr Spalbar before the Union Home Minister included inclusion of Bhoti language in eighth schedule of Constitution, doing away with inner line permit system, open newer areas for tourists and special recruitment drive for Ladakhi women in para-military forces. Meanwhile, Mr Shinde inaugurated solar power system in Leh, which would go long way in catering to the power demands of the people living in border areas. He said that Ministry of Home Affairs would consider giving relaxation in physical standard and qualification to the people of border areas in Leh so that they can be recruited in ITBP, BSF and other Central Security Forces. He said that Leh has got tremendous potential for tourism related activities and the Union Government would continue to promote tourism in these areas as envisaged by the Prime Minister’s Special Package.