The governor-led Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to create a separate administrative/revenue division for the Ladakh region of the state has triggered similar demands from politicians questioning the intentions of New Delhi over the matter.
The J&K government on Friday approved the creation of the posts of Divisional Commissioner (Ladakh), Leh and Inspector General of Police (Ladakh), Leh besides constituting a committee to identify the posts of divisional level heads of various departments.
The former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said ignoring regions like Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal raises doubts of New Delhi’s intention. “Creation of a separate administrative division for Leh is a welcome step. However, ignoring Pir Panchal & Chenab Valley raises questions about the Centre’s intention. Seems like Guv sb is peddling BJPs agenda by ignoring other equally deserving regions (sic),” she tweeted.
Earlier, National Conference vice-president and former CM Omar Abdullah promised division status for Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions of Jammu, if his party was voted to power in upcoming Assembly elections.
Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and is the highest plateau in the state, with most of it being over 9,800 feet above sea level. It is geographically isolated with a sparse population and inhospitable terrain which remains landlocked for nearly six months in a year. The region is riddled with insurmountable problems with respect to delivery of developmental schemes, redressal of public grievances, the conduct of administrative affairs and governance as such.
The people of Ladakh have, for a long time, been demanding effective local institutional arrangements which can help promote and accelerate the pace of development and equitable all-round growth and development having regard to its peculiar geo-climatic and topographic conditions, stimulate and seek the fullest participation of the local community in the decision-making process.
At present, the powers of local governance have already been decentralised by the formation of Hill Development Councils for the Leh and Kargil districts. During winter months the entire Ladakh region, comprising both Leh and Kargil, remain cut-off from rest of the country for almost six months. Air travel via Leh is the only mode of transport available to this region, which makes it impossible for people to visit other parts of the country for various purposes.
Currently, the Ladakh region forms a part of the Kashmir division.