Apex Body Condemns Industrial Land Allotment Policy: Urges Prioritizing Local Concerns Over External Investments
VoL Desk, Nov. 14: The Apex body, led by Thupstan Chhewang, convened a press conference in Leh to express their strong opposition to the recently introduced Ladakh Industrial Land Allotment Policy 2023. The gathering included prominent members of the Apex Body, Thupstan Chhewang, Tsering Dorjay, Ashraf Barcha and others among them.
During the press conference, Thupstan Chhewang emphasized that the industrial land allotment policy should not take precedence over more pressing concerns of the Ladakhi people. He asserted that instead of hastily implementing this policy, attention should be directed towards addressing other critical issues.
It appears that the primary objective of the policy is to attract new medium and large industries to Ladakh. Despite raising concerns during the solicitation of public input for the policy, none of the suggestions put forth by the community were incorporated.
Thupstan Chhewang expressed apprehension about the adverse impact on Ladakh’s delicate ecology, highlighting that the region is unsuitable for establishing industries. He pointed out the lack of available manpower or workers in Ladakh and the geographical remoteness that isolates the area for several months, making it impractical for industries requiring proximity to markets.
Furthermore, he raised concerns about the potential consequences of industrial activities on the region’s glaciers, the main source of water for the local population. Thupstan Chhewang criticized the policy’s apparent emphasis on attracting external investment to a predominantly tribal region like Ladakh. Instead, he advocated for a focus on empowering the local tribal population through initiatives in handloom, handicrafts, and agriculture.
In addition, Thupstan Chhewang underscored the lack of consultation with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and the local populace during the drafting of the policy. He criticized the absence of local representation in the three committees responsible for land allotment under the policy, suggesting that the Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) should be part of these committees. He advocated for placing the final decision-making authority in the hands of the LAHDC, as opposed to the current arrangement where the UT administration holds the decisive power.