Ladakh natives not enthused by plans to deregulate land

Published - November 07, 2023 05:37 am IST - SRINAGAR

The Lieutenant Governor’s administration in Ladakh has framed a public industrial land allotment policy to draw investments to the Union Territory (UT). However, the policy is opposed by several groups in Ladakh. 

According to Ladakh’s Department of Industries and Commerce, investment in the service sector is only for local entrepreneurs. “Outside entrepreneurs may be permitted in the manufacturing sector, Preference may be given to local entrepreneurs,” it said.

It envisaged that 70% of the land in industrial estates will be reserved for Micro and Small enterprises and 30% for Medium and Large investors.

Before the formation of the Union Territory, the region followed Jammu and Kashmir’s Industrial Policy of 2016. 

Land a stumbling block

“These policies provided the basic mechanism for Industrial Land Allotment. However, land was a limiting factor to industrial growth in the region,” the policy document said   It said after the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories; UT Ladakh required an Industrial Land Allotment Policy backed by a comprehensive industrial land bank, to attract industrial investments.

“This policy document has therefore been formulated with the belief that it will assist the UT Administration in carving a place for Ladakh in the national economy and a niche for its products in national and international markets,” it said.

Ladakh was made a separate UT in 2019 and separated from J&K.

Meanwhile, the Leh Apex Body (LAB), an amalgam of political and religious groups in Leh that is pushing for granting of Sixth Schedule stautus to Ladakh, met under the chairmanship of Thupstan Chhewang. According to a statement, suggestions for amendment in the Ladakh Industrial Land Allotment Policy-2023 as per the aspirations of the people of Ladakh, will be submitted to the UT administration by November 9, 2023.

Ladakhis unhappy

The LAB also discussed the mega solar power project at Skyangchuthang-Changthang and its environmental impact on the region, a spokesman said.   The LAB said it will resume its campaign for grant of sixth schedule status to Ladakh, which provides protection for environment, culture and jobs, besides the demand for statehood with an elected assembly.

Sajjad Kargilli, a political leader from Leh, said the policy poses a significant risk to the delicate environment of Ladakh and threatens the indigenous cultural identity of the region.

The introduction of this draft without the consent of the people of Ladakh is undemocratic and deeply concerning. Moreover, undermining the opinions of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDCs) indicates a continued disempowerment of the people of Ladakh,” Mr. Kargili said.

He said it was imperative for both the Councils, in Leh and Kargil, to unite and stand against this policy, “which is clearly against the interests of the local population”.  

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