October 2018 News

Trifurcation Of J&K Will Be Disastrous: J&K Governor

15 October 2018
The Economic Times
Hakeem Irfan

Srinagar: While JK governor Satyapal Malik claims that the decision to empower Leh and Kargil development councils is not political, the Congress feels it is BJPs desperate bid to woo voters in future as it is losing all municipal wards in the ongoing local bodies polls. The move is also seen as part of Indian governments bigger plans to directly influence and control the institutions at the grass roots level without interference from the state government. In September, the state administrative council headed by Malik approved the draft Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The amendments gives councils more power to collect and levy taxes and control various government departments in districts. Besides, all public properties constructed with council fund shall belong to the councils. They (people of Ladakh) are very happy. They are not even asking for division now. They had to come down to capitals for every small thing. Now they can do things there, Malik, who visited Ladakh last week, told ET. He said the move should not be construed as some political conspiracy or a step towards trifurcation of the state. The day this state will trifurcate, it will be a disaster. The state of JK is a reality and it should remain so. Power and money should go to people at the grassroots level. This has to be more transparent. There are no political overtones in this amendment, said Malik. As per 2011 census, Ladakh has a total population of 2.74 lakh, including 1.40 lakh people in Kargil. A section of people in Ladakh demand Union Territory (UT) status for this hilly region, which shares its border with Indias two crucial neighbours Pakistan and China. The demand for UT also fuels many political speculation at any move aimed at strengthening local institutions in this region. Demanding UT status for Ladakh is like demanding autonomy for Kashmir. It is a very emotional issue. But these amendments are an eyewash by the BJP government in New Delhi to hoodwink people. There is nothing new in this. We have ensured all the powers to these councils during our regime. It is old wine in new bottle, a farce, former minister and Congress legislator from Ladakh Nawang Rigzin Jora told ET. The Congress leader said that the BJP was desperate to please the people of Ladakh. BJP won just one seat out of 26 in LAHDC Kargil elections conducted in August this year. BJP will not win a single municipal ward in Ladakh in the ongoing local bodies elections, Jora said . However, chairman of LAHDC (Leh) Dorjay Motup sees silver lining in the governor saying that these decisions were long overdue and have nothing to do with politics of the state. We are waiting for the notification, but these demands were very old. We tried to create pressure at all levels and it seems now we will be finally successful. We had to beg before many people for funds and jobs. It might change now. We have 900 gazatted and non-gazetted vacancies but nobody was paying heed till now, Motup told ET.

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