Centre To Take Infrastructure Right Up To LAC With China: Parrikar

24 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the Union Government has taken series of measures to uplift economic standard of the people living on the border and lauded them for helping troops in strengthening and safeguarding the borders with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Leh. Addressing fourth International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh in the presence of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and Ladakh Member of Parliament Thupstan Chhewang, Parrikar, who had reached Leh yesterday along with Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag called for cordial relations between inhabitants of the border areas and the Army personnel to help strengthen and safeguard the borders in a better way. 'On its part, the Government of India has taken various initiatives to uplift economic and living standard of the people living along the borders,' the Defence Minister said. He returned to New Delhi this morning after concluding his two days visit to Leh. Parrikar said the Centre proposed to develop infrastructure along the LAC in Leh, which would not only help the troops to have easy access to the borders but also benefit the local people in a big way as construction of road and rail network would sharply reduce travel time of the people, bring tourists to some places and boost economy of the region, which will directly benefit the people. 'The Government of India is on the job. We are not waiting. We have already started the job to build road and rail networks in Ladakh and construct tunnels to keep Ladakh linked with rest of the word round-the-year,' he said, adding that construction of Zojila tunnel was a step in this direction. 'Not only this', he said, 'we proposed to take roads right up to the LAC and all remote areas of Ladakh so that the tourists, who couldn't visit some beautiful places, travel to every corner of beautiful and mountain locked Ladakh region. He said he would like to visit maximum border areas personally to know the problems faced by the people, experience their challenges and difficulties and try to overcome them to the maximum possible extent. 'The people living in the border areas are as dear to us as others. Rather, they are dearer to us as they sometimes had to brave hostile neighbours. Still they put up on the borders and held the armed forces,' Parrikar said in a word of praise for the border dwellers. Parrikar's statement assumed significance as only recently six civilians had lost their lives while over 20 others were injured in Pakistan shelling on the Line of Control (LoC) in Balakote sector of Poonch district. He said he had instructed the Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) to disseminate the technology know-how to civilian population to boost the economy of the people of Ladakh, the strategically important part of India. Citing his native place Goa, where he had served as the Chief Minister, as an example doing unplanned development activities, he emphasized upon developing the region in a planned manner to cater a sustainable and responsible tourism in a systematic manner to boost the economy of the region. Earlier, Parrikar inaugurated 4th International Festival of Buddhist Heritage (IFBH) in Leh with fanfare and frolic by lighting the holy lamp at CIBS Nagarjuna Auditorium Hall in Choglamsar. The weeklong festival is being organized by MIMC in collaboration with International Buddhist Confederation Delhi and Nava Nalanda Mahavihara which is supported by Hemis Monastery, Spituk Monastery, ICCR New Delhi, LAHDC, J&K Tourism Department, Ladakh International Center, All Ladakh Tour Operators and All Ladakh Hotel Association. The princess of Bhutan Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk extending her greeting to the people of Ladakh highlighted the historical and close culture relation between the two countries for centuries. Yoga Guru Swami Ramdev termed Ladakh as heaven on the earth and said taking birth in Ladakh is great privilege. He assured all kind of support for the uplift of economy of the region. LAHDC CEC Rigzin Spalbar terming the occasion as historic witnessing a galaxy of eminent personality across the world sharing a same stage briefed them on geography of Ladakh, which, he said, shared common boundaries with two hostile nations 'Ladakh is strategically important region growing a single crop in a year. This is self sustain region for centuries having abundant unexplored natural resources that can uplift the economy of the region provided Swami Ramdev and his Patanjali Yogpeeth Haridwar contribute towards Ladakh by exploring the natural herbs,' Spalbar said. Chosje Togdan Rinpoche, in his speech, mentioned about the merits of Yoga and urged the Defence Minister to open Kailash Mansarvor road from Ladakh. Earlier, Bikhu Sanga Sena highlighted the purpose of the Buddhist Heritage Festival with main focusing to make Ladakh an International Buddhist pilgrimages destination in Asia where the visiting tourists truly feel the essence of spirituality and get relieve from hectic life schedule. On the occasion, books titled 'Buddhist heritage of Ladakh', authored by Bikkhu Sangha Sena, and Souvenir Magazine and Plates of 4th IFBHL were also released by the Defence Minister and other dignitaries.