The Indian Army has decided to vacate Kargil Lower plateau which is also called Khurbathang Plateau of Kargil. Army has been using this plateau for firing, operational and logistic needs.
The army and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise the decision. The army promised to evacuate the region in six months. Residents of Kargil and the local government have greatly appreciated this decision.
The MoU was signed between LAHDC and the army. LAHDC was represented by the deputy commissioner and CEO, LAHDC, Kargil, Baseer ul Haq Choudhary while the Brigade Commander, 121 Infantry Division, Brigadier Vivek Bakshi represented the Army. The chairman and chief executive councillor, LAHDC, Kargil, Feroz Ahmad Khan and the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 8 Mountain Division, Major General Praveen Kumar Airy, AVSM were also present in the meeting.
Khan told Outlook that the administration would provide army substitute land near Maratha Unit Kurbathang and Mulbekh area. He called it a landmark decision which will promote the establishment of a new and well-planned township in the Kargil. He said that people were demanding this land for a long time for expanding township and previous governments discussed the issue with the army. The army demanded compensation for infrastructure it constructed on the land and as a result, no progress was made regarding the issue. He said that the Ladakh administration has promised to supply water and electricity at the new places where the army is going to shift.
Sajjad Kargili, a young politician, applauded the decision. He said that since 1948, the Army has occupied the area but in the last three decades, the population of Kargil region grew rapidly and there is hardly any space to accommodate this increasing population.
Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal has termed the event a historic development. He thanked the leadership for making people’s demands come true. Back in 2015 when the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar visited J&K, the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government of erstwhile J&K state had discussed the issue of army vacating lands in Khurbathang Plateau of Ladakh.