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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

PM to take final call on issues confronting Leh

Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times  Jammu, February 07, 2013
First Published: 20:33 IST(7/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:35 IST(7/2/2013)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to convene a meeting for giving a final consideration to the issues of Ladakh region, which had been brought to his notice by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC).

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This was stated by additional home secretary (Centre-state) K Skandan in a meeting with chief executive councilor (CEC), LAHDC, Rigzin Spalbar at New Delhi.

"We discussed progress on issues with the home secretary, which were brought before the home minister on his visit to Leh last year. The home secretary said the Prime Minister himself is monitoring the proposals and will take a final call soon," Spalbar told HT.

Spalbar along with other councillors are presently camping in Delhi and meeting different ministries on the follow up of proposals submitted before them for the development and financial assistance to Leh and council, respectively.

LAHDC came into existence on August 1995 after a long-drawn protest by locals demanding separation of Leh from the administrative control of Kashmir. Though it's an autonomous body, Kashmir still has the administrative control as the region is under the jurisdiction of divisional commissioner, Kashmir.

Even though the state has a separate department for Ladakh affairs (Leh and Kargil district), the council has stated that it continuously faces financial apathy.

The meeting was held after the intervention of home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, with whom the councillor earlier had held a meeting.

The LAHDC, earlier, in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister had asked him to allocate special and separate funds for the council, which they said is facing financial constrains thereby affecting the functioning.

The demands have started acceptance in the Centre because Congress vice-president and MP Rahul Gandhi has shown special interest in issues of Ladakh, especially Leh.

It's widely believed that because of his interest and intervention that project for Zojilla tunnel was cleared and set in motion, thus making access to Leh and Kargil possible throughout the year.

Splarbar discussed with the additional home secretary wide range of issues, including inclusion of Bhoti language in the 8th schedule, relaxation in age and qualification to Ladakhi girls for recruitment in paramilitary forces and to bring flexibility in issuing inner line permit to restricted areas in Ladakh region.

They also discussed matter to finalise the Leh town master plan. The additional secretary said he will take up the matter with ministries concerned.

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