Delegation led by Ladakh BJP MP call on Defence Minister, MoS Home

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Leh, Nov 11 (PTI) A high-level BJP delegation led by Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal on Wednesday met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy in New Delhi where they raised various demands including setting up underground bunkers for border residents, an official spokesman said.

The delegation also sought easing of restrictions along the China border for native locals to take their livestock for grazing to pasture land along the border, the spokesman said here.

He said the delegation, which also included newly elected Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Councillor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Leh, Tashi Gyalson, discussed in detail various border issues and demands of Ladakh in general and Leh district in particular.

This was the first visit by the members of the 6th LAHDC-Leh after BJP retained power in the recently held election.

Among various demands, the spokesman said the delegation sought construction of underground bunkers for civilians living along the border to protect their lives during any emergency, extension of the northern grid to Changthang region, Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) towers at border villages and other villages lacking communication facilities, the spokesman said.

He said the delegation also sought permission and No Objection Certificate from the Ministry of Defence to operate Demchok Jio Tower that has been installed, permission for tourists to visit Siachen base and implementation of earlier orders, BSNL tower under the Army's control to be made available for civilians living along the border and operate by controlling signal radius; better facilities like health, clothing and wages for labourers deployed at Siachen.

They also demanded release of nearly three acres of land under the Army's control to make 'UDAN' scheme to be implemented at Thoise Nubra, easing of restrictions along the China border for natives to take their livestock for grazing to pasture land along border, increase in the tonnage volume on Army planes during winter months to provide vegetables and other essential items for nutritious food to people, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The delegation demanded preference to local youths in Army recruitment in Ladakh, regularisation of local porters with better wages throughout the year and preference to local labourers during winter months as they were disengaged during winter months by contractors, the spokesman said.

He said the delegation also strongly stressed on early completion of Nimoo-Padum-Darcha road keeping in mind the strategic importance of the road for Ladakh and blacktopping of Wanla-Lingshed to Padum road at the earliest as this road has emerged as an alternative road during winter for both the Army and locals.

The Defence Minister assured the delegation of addressing priority wise all the demands in the coming months and years, the spokesman said.

Later, the delegation called on MoS Home Reddy and submitted a memorandum of demands, which among others sought amendments in the council acts, smart city projects for both Leh and Kargil district and early creation of the proposed new districts.

The memorandum also demanded setting up of Ladakh Public Services Commission, allowances for Ladakh Police, regularisation of contractual, daily wagers and casual labourers engaged in various departments; early recruitment of available vacant posts and creation of new required posts in the UT to fill up the shortage of manpower, the spokesman further said.

He said it also pressed for inclusion of Thoise airport under the UDAN scheme and improvement of telecommunications, electricity and establishment of bunkers in Changthang border area.

Reddy gave a patient hearing to all the demands and assured the delegation of fulfilling them.

The MoS Home also assured the delegation that there would be no shortage of funds for the development of the Union Territory, the spokesman said. PTI TAS AB HDA