November 2018 News

Demand To Make Ladakh 'third Region' Of Jammu And Kashmir Growing

17 November 2018
The Sunday Guardian

Srinagar: People in Ladakh region, especially in Kargil, want the government to declare it as the third region of Jammu and Kashmir to end the perceived discrimination with this hilly area. The recent resignation of local BJP MP Thupstan Chhewang and many growing demands like setting up of a university, medical colleges and skill development institutes in the region have shown the urgency for the Central government to act before they take shape of agitation. Raising the demands and organising protests in the recent past has shown that the people of Ladakh want the region to be recognised as the third region of the state with more autonomous powers to go for its whole-hog development. Ladakh MP Chhewang's resignation from primary membership of the party as well as the Lower House has shown that all is not well in the region. Sources close to Chhewang told The Sunday Guardian that in the past few years, he urged the Centre to offer a separate developmental package for Ladakh region and give the regional councils of Leh and Kargil more powers. While BJP tried to play down the resignation, Chhewang has said that he has quit politics on health grounds and wants to lead a spiritual life now. Many party activists in Ladakh told this newspaper that Chhewang was upset about the Central government's apathy towards the hilly region. 'The state party president Ravinder Raina completely ignored our suggestions for giving tickets in the ULB and panchayat elections. Previously it was Kashmir and now it is Jammu which is dominating Ladakh politics,' a senior BJP leader from Leh lamented. People in Ladakh region are waiting for a massive financial package from the Centre to overcome the 'developmental deficit'. Sensing the simmering unrest among the youth, the National Conference-led Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council in Kargil on Friday sought a separate divisional status for Ladakh.