Ground Report | New Delhi: Tourism open in Ladakh; The central government plans to open border towns with China for tourists. According to The Hindu, this scheme will be initiated through the Vibrant Village Program announced under the Union Budget of the 2022-23 Union Budget.
Recently, the Union Home Ministry held a meeting on this matter with representatives from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Quoting a senior government official, the newspaper writes that the budget provisions of this scheme have been sent to the Expenditure Financing Committee for approval, after which the plan will be submitted to the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Modi.
Tashi Gyalson, Senior Executive Advisor, Ladakh Hills Autonomous Development Council (LAHDC), said district-level trials are underway under the Vibrant Village Program to strengthen each border village.
A senior official from the Ministry of the Interior said that during a virtual meeting organized by the Ministry of Rural Development on February 23, emphasis was placed on tourism and culture. According to the newspaper, the official said that “in the Vibrant Village program, works related to the generation of livelihoods, road connectivity, housing, rural infrastructure, renewable energy, television and broadband connection will be carried out.”
A parliamentary home affairs committee, in its December 2021 report, suggested that Ladakh villages, especially those on the zero borders such as Chumar and Demchok, should be electrified to prevent the migration of people from these areas.
On February 23, at a virtual meeting organized by the Ministry of Rural Development, a senior MHA official said that for economic activities under the scheme, “emphasis will be placed on tourism and culture.”
“In the Vibrant Villages program, programs related to the generation of livelihoods, road connectivity, housing, rural infrastructure, renewable energy, television and broadband connections should be undertaken,” said the official.
A Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee in its December 2021 report had recommended that all villages in Ladakh, particularly those located at Border Zero such as Chumar and Demchok, should be electrified “to stop the migration of people from these areas”. (Tourism open in Ladakh)
According to the report, out of 236 habitable villages in Ladakh, only 172 have telecommunication infrastructure and “only 24 and 78 villages have 3G and 4G internet connectivity”, respectively.
According to Konchok Stanzin, a councillor from Chushul in eastern Ladakh, there are 19 villages along with the border village that has partial or no communication facilities. China has established several new villages across LAC in recent years, particularly on the Arunachal Pradesh border.
Another government official said the Vibrant Village program went against China’s model villages, but the nomenclature was carefully chosen so as not to cause consternation in the neighbouring country. China and India have been involved in a multi-location clash in eastern Ladakh for the past two years and in one of the violent clashes with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), up to 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
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