The Bharatiya Janata Party in the Ladakh region is demanding for an amendment to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Act to enhance powers granted to hill councils of the region such as executive, financial and legislative powers.
Member of the Parliament and President of BJP in Ladakh region, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, had a meeting with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday. He demanded an amendment in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act demanding executive, legislative, and financial powers to safeguard identity, land, jobs, and environmental rights of the people of Ladakh.
Namgyal told Outlook that he received positive response from the Home Minister. He said the Home Minister has assured him for his demands. Pandemic has delayed things and now, farmers protests are occupying the government’s attention. BJP Ladakh President has also made some demands like: making Ladakh budget non-lapsable, new districts formation in Ladakh and hiring people to fill 6500 vacancies.
There are two districts Leh and Kargil in Ladakh UT as of now. There are also demands of Ladakh Public Service Commission and creation of Ladakh Administrative Services, Ladakh Police Services, and Ladakh Forest Services.
Namgyal says in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Hill Councils were managed by Jammu and Kashmir State and when Ladakh was declared a separate Union Territory, it comes under Home Ministry. He says that unlike Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is a Union Territory without any Legislative Assembly.
He said that people represented their aspiration through their representatives in Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. So, people of Ladakh are expecting more financial, executive, and legislative powers for the council. All matters which concern the region and its people cannot be referred to parliament every time. So they are demanding for more legislative, financial, and executive powers to the LAHDCs.
In 1995, PV Narasimha Rao’s government brought Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act of 1995 and the LAHDC, Leh was constituted in accordance with the act and its first election was held in the same year. Later in 2003, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP established similar council for Kargil district.
After the bifurcation of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019—Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir—people of Ladakh demanded the sixth schedule for the region to exhibit more powers for the Union Territory.