Dalai Lama reaches Leh

9 August 2009
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Correspondent

Leh: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today received the Dalai Lama at Bakula Airport here. The entire people of Ladakh including Muslims, Christians and Hindus in their traditional way gave a rousing reception to the Dalai Lama and lined up at both sides of the road holding flowers and Khatags right from Airport to Jivetsal Choglamsar. Soon after reaching at Fotang Palace, the Dalai Lama said that he had a very friendly relationship with the CM's grand father Sheikh Abdullah and his father Dr Farooq Abdullah. He said that J&K has a very long and bright future under young and dynamic leadership of Omar Abdullah. The Dalai Lama also enquired about the education and development scenario of Ladakh. Later, the Chief Minister attended the concluding function of Ladakh Kissan Jawan Vigyan Mela held at DIHAR, DRDO, Leh as a chief guest. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Abdullah appreciated the efforts made by the DIHAR Scientists in developing new research technology in the field of agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, animal husbandry and poultry etc. which has greatly helped the local farming community to enhance their economy. He also recalled the cordial relation between Army and civilians in Ladakh and said that Kissan and Jawans are the two pillars of the country.He also mentioned that Leh has good potential of conventional and non conventional energy, tourism trade, wind mills, solar energy, agriculture and horticulture and assured to provide all out assistance to strengthen these sectors. He urged upon the local progressive farmers to take full advantage from the laboratories and researches of DIHAR. Tourism Minister, Rigzin Jora said the relation between Army and civilians in Ladakh is a symbolic one. He recalled contributions of the local people in defending the Indian borders. He also mentioned the contribution of late Kalon Rigzin Namgyal who set up farmers cooperative society in the early days which has resulted producing vegetables, fruits and fodders worth crore of rupees and supply to the Army in Ladakh. The Chief Minister also convened a meeting with the Executive members of LAHDC, Leh. Chief Executive Councilor, Chering Dorje presented a charter of agenda for discussion and decision before the Chief Minister which include addditionality on district plan budget, grant of required funds for construction of Ice hockey ring, supply of essential commodities according to the requirement submitted by the Council, filling up of vacant posts of doctors, engineers and lecturers, grant of CA to employees working in Ladakh, ban on Ladakh transfer without providing substitutes, enhancement of labour charges under NREGA scheme for Ladakh, deployment of experts to implement Leh Master Plan, submission of early concurrence from State Government to implement on geothermal project at Puga, enhancement of meal charges and filling up of the posts of cooks in centralized residential schools of the district. Mr Abdullah said tourism is a focus area in view of immense potential in the State and as such the Government would leave no stone unturned to develop tourism sector in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He was speaking here after laying foundation stone of the complex of Food Craft Institute at Leh coming up at a cost of Rs 5.83 crore with Central share of Rs 4.77 crore and Rs 1.08 crore as State share. He said that un-employment is the core issue of the three region of the State and said to overcome this challenge the only solution can be anticipated in private sectors and private investments. Mr Abdullah said the coming up of this prestigious institute would play a pivotal role in proficiency building of Ladakhi youth in various fields of tourism thus giving a new boost to this sector. He said that the nature has gifted Ladakh with abundant prettiness and creation of good infrastructure in this amazing tourist spot would surely attract a good number of tourists. The Chief Minister assured to extend full cooperation in all respect to the Hill Council in the development of this region. Earlier, Chief Executive Councilor, LAHDC, Leh Chering Dorje said that it was a great achievement for Hill Council Leh for having laid down the foundation stone of Food Craft Institute at Leh by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. He said that right from the opening of Ladakh for tourists in 1974, the need of such an institute was felt to impart training to the local young people to fulfill the requirement of trained hand by the hoteliers and travel agencies. Mr Dorje hoped that by establishing such institute at Leh, trained local hands in this trade would be available here itself otherwise 90 per cent of employees in hotels and other tourism trades have been brought from outside Ladakh.