Leh, Kargil Hill Councils empowered to protect land, cultural identity: Raman Suri

Tourism Federation and Jammu-Kashmir &Ladakh Tourism Stakeholders Associationmet today under the chairmanship of Raman Suri, General Secretary, wherein the members expressed their concern regarding anunjustified issuebeing raised by the Congress, that is unjust demand of declaring the newly-carved out Union Territory of Ladakha tribal area under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, which deals with the administration of tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Accusing Congress of creating insecurity amongst masses, especially the people of Ladakh, to whom it denied Union Territory (UT) status since independence, Raman Suri said that the abrogation of Article 370 and creation of the UT of Ladakh was welcomed with open hands by the people of Ladakh, however some people of Ladakh were brainwashed by the Congress to ask the Centre to declare the region a tribal area under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. This demand, he added, was driven by the fear created in their minds, by cunning and power-lusty Congress, that the influx of outsiders would lead to a change in the region’s demography, jeopardizing their culture, identity and lands.
In the meeting, all members were of the view that if the said demand is agreed, then it would lead to downfall of tourism in Ladakh and ultimately, the economy and growth prospects of the region too. Raman Suri said that already there are twoAutonomous Hill Development Councils in Ladakh to address the matters concerning their local issues,one inLeh district (since 1995) and another inKargil district (since 2003)under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act 1997,and these were further empowered by the present government in 2018, making them the most empowered autonomous councils in India.
He added, the Hill Development Councils of Ladakh and Kargil enjoy powers more or less in line with the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India and can frame policies to protect their identity, culture, environment according to their needs and geo-political features. Thus, the people of Ladakh region must not get swayed by false and frivolous propaganda of Congress or any other divisive forces.
Raman Suri said that the people of Ladakh have always stood by the forces in defending borders and continue to live in difficult conditions with limited infrastructure and bare minimum resources. It was in the larger interest of commoners that the Union Government led by Prime Minister NarendraModi granted UT status to Ladakh thereby ending decades of dominance of one region over the other and fulfilled aspirations of people of this cold region. Now that Ladakh will be directly administered by the Union Government, there will be effective implementation.