In what comes as welcome news for the people of Ladakh, the Jammu & Kashmir administration has fulfilled the long pending demand of the people to create a separate revenue/administrative division for the region. The division will comprise Leh and Kargil Districts. Till now, the state of Jammu and Kashmir had two divisions- Kashmir and Jammu with Ladakh being the part of the former. Saugat Biswas, a 2006-batch IAS officer of the Jammu & Kashmir cadre, has been appointed the Divisional Commissioner for Ladakh division.
As per a tweet on this update by Department of Information and Public Relations of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh is an isolated region with most of its part being 9,800 feet above the sea level. It has a sparse population and an inhospitable terrain which remains landlocked for nearly six months in a year. It poses insurmountable problems as far as the delivery of developmental schemes, redressal of public grievances, the conduct of administrative affairs and governance is concerned.
JK Govt orders creation of separate Ladakh Division pic.twitter.com/Uqkzr0PhP4
— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) February 8, 2019
It also stated that the people of Ladakh have been demanding institutional arrangements that can help to promote and accelerate the pace of development and equitable all-round growth and development having regard to its peculiar geo-climate and topographic conditions. It is clear that the people of Ladakh have been demanding greater attention and better administrative apparatus so that the special needs of the region arising out of its peculiar circumstances are fulfilled. Finally, it is the present government which has taken a big step in the right direction.
The government has taken a number of steps for the development of the Ladakh region in the recent past. Earlier, it was reported that northernmost areas in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, viz. Kargil and Leh have been connected to the national grid. This is being seen as a shot in the arm for the ‘One nation One Grid’ project. The 220 kV Leh-Kargil-Alusteng Single Circuit transmission line spanning over 330 km is now ready. PM Modi had laid the foundation for this 220 kV Single Circuit transmission line in August 2014. This comes as a major relief for the remotely located region of Ladakh. Until now, it relied upon a local small hydro-plant and DG generation as it had not been connected to any power grid in the country. Power Minister R K Singh told the Times of India, “This is a milestone for our country. We have now connected our northernmost areas to the national grid. It is a milestone for the people of Ladakh and Kargil. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone on August 12, 2014 and it was commissioned during this government’s tenure. This is commitment to people’s welfare.”
In another development, a railway line connecting Ladakh to the National Capital has been approved by the central government. The Railway line project will cut short the journey time between Delhi and Leh by almost half. The whole track laid down will be in broad gauge, resulting in easier transportation between Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The project will serve as an extension of the Kangra Valley Railway to Mandi. The movement between Delhi and Leh will come down to 20 hours from the 40 hours. As per the findings from the first phase of the survey, the ambitious project is scheduled to have 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges, and 396 minor bridges. The trains running on the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line will run at a maximum speed of 75 kilometers per hour, a great speed considering the elevation which is predominant in the terrain.
There have been a lot of speculations about trifurcation of Jammu, Ladakh, and Kashmir in order to solve the complex issues as far as the state of Jammu & Kashmir is concerned. One hopes that the creation of a separate revenue/ administrative division is a firm step in this direction.