If silent moves being made by BJP-led NDA government at the centre are any indication, union territory status for Ladakh is just a few steps away.
Sources told Newspoint Bureau, union ministry of home affairs is working in close liaison with railway and defense ministry to pave way for constructing an alternate route for Ladakh from Himachal Pradesh. The road is said to reduce distance of Ladakh from New Delhi and bring it closer to the centre. Sources told Newspoint Bureau that, this all is being done silently to ensure that there is no political upheaval in Jammu and Kashmir over the issue of Ladakh being brought closer to New Delhi.
They further said that the recent decision of government of India to start construction of 498 kilometres Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line to directly link Leh with New Delhi by rail is one more step towards carving out union territory for Leh-Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir. According to recent reports, railway ministry has been asked to start the work on the rail project within shortest possible time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi quickly accepted the survey conducted by the Railways Ministry to link Leh with New Delhi via Manali and Bilaspur with rail. As soon as the survey was completed, railways ministry found it feasible and approved the same for implementation. The project is expected to cost Rs 22,831 crores if completed within scheduled timeline of 5 years.
If the sources are to be believed, direct rail link with New Delhi would serve dual purpose. They added that it would bring New Delhi closer to Ladakh besides reducing the considerable impact of Chinese goods on the markets of Leh and its adjoining areas. Further, the rail link would make it easier for Army to reach Ladakh, thus helping to keep a check on aggressive posturing of China.
Political observers see this development as part of union government’s long drawn strategy of separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir. Stating that Ladakhis have already bid good bye to J&K by adopting a logo of its own and running parallel government in the shape of Ladakh Hill Development Council (LHDC), a senior retired official said that the new government is making all efforts to grant union territory status to Ladakh.
Prior to this new development, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) in the year 2011 passed a resolution moved by a congress man to adopt a new logo based on national emblem of India. In the new logo adopted by LAHDC in its general council on February 21, 2011; leaves alongwith rising sun and mountains are in the background, central portion has been replaced with lion capital of Ashoka from Sarnath, the National Emblem.
The council logo does not have any sign of J&K in it. What makes the logo important is the fact that it is now used on the official vehicles with Ladakhis calling it an assertion of their identity and indication of their patriotism towards India. Besides Logo, Ladakhi legislators have been aggressively demanding creation of separate division for Ladakh. They call it as first step towards freeing the region from the control of Kashmir centric administrators and getting UT status.
Ladakhis have also been demanding separate police zone for Ladakh. They have been saying that creation of new zone will benefit thousands of Ladakhi police personnel and officers in their proper placements, postings, transfers and promotions. They do not hesitate in saying that divisional status for Ladakh is a short term administrative mechanism while UT status is the ultimate aim.