Add Ladakh Into J&K’s Name: Panchs Of Wakha, Mulbekh Urge7 August 2011
Srinagar: The newly elected members of the Panchayats of Wakha and Mulbekh in Ladakh region,in a combined meeting of their respective Sarpanches and Panches, 18 in total, voted unanimously by voice vote and provided their signatures , in favor of a resolution to press for recognition and inclusion of Ladakh in the name of the State. 'From now on we want our State to be known as JKL, not J&K.' stated a member from Mulbekh after the vote. In a meeting lasting over two hours, which took place at the Chang Chup Chosling monastery premises here in Wakha, and conducted in a mixture of Ladakhi, English, Urdu and Hindi, the panchayat explained their reasons for passing the resolution. “Whenever there is an opportunity, they discriminate against us in every way” said a female panch from Mulbekh. A panchayat member from Wakha, observed, “We Ladakhi people want equal development and prosperity like Jammu and Kashmir.' Following the unanimous passage of the Resolution, the joint Wakha-Mulbekh Panchayat members engaged in a lively and productive discussion in which they expressed determination to cooperate to develop indigenous resources and products of Ladakh region in order to generate income for Aam Ladakhis and revenue for implementation of panchayat activities on a priority basis. 'We are not paid any salary for our panchayat work, but the Minister may be paid more than Rs. 45,000 per month. Also we are directly responsible to the people. As examples of developing products from local resources, they spoke about making incense sticks, soap,herbal teas, mosquito repellent from local plants, trees, shrubs, roots and seeds that are unique to the Ladakh region. Panchayat members discussed the feasibility of raising cash among their members as well as seeking microcredit resources from the State as well as from the Centre. 'We know we can be successul and try to emulate the success of panchayats in advanced states like Kerala.' In particular, some panch members from both Wakha and Mulbekh empasized the importance of placing women at the forefront of panchayat activities. If women can develop skills based on local knowledge and they earn money, it will benfit their children and their families directly,observed one pach member from Wakha.