Jammu and Kashmir government declares Ladakh ‘a separate division’, Leh as its headquarters

Jammu and Kashmir government declares Ladakh ‘a separate division’, Leh as its headquarters
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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has declared Ladakh a separate division on Friday.

An official spokesperson said that the government has approved the creation of a separate administrative and revenue division for Ladakh and it will comprise of Leh and Kargil districts. The division will have Leh as its headquarters.

The Government has also approved creation of the posts of Divisional Commissioner (Ladakh), Leh and Inspector General of Police (Ladakh), Leh.

The spokesperson further said that a committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary to Government, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department to identify the posts of divisional level heads of various departments that may be required for the new Division; particularly their staffing pattern, role and responsibilities and proposed location of these offices.

The issue was discussed at various fora and there has been a persistent demand for the creation of Division for Ladakh from many organizations including the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDC) Leh and Kargil, the spokesperson said.

“Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and is the highest plateau in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with most of it being over 9,800 feet above sea level. Ladakh region is geographically isolated with a sparse population and inhospitable terrain which remains landlocked for nearly six months in a year. Consequently, the Region is riddled with insurmountable problems with respect to delivery of developmental schemes, redressal of public grievances, conduct of administrative affairs and governance as such.”

The spokesperson said that the people of Ladakh have, for a long time, been demanding effective local institutional arrangements which can help promote and accelerate the pace of development and equitable all-round growth and development having regard to its peculiar geo-climatic and topographic conditions, stimulate and seek fullest participation of the local community in the decision-making process.

“At present the powers of local governance have already been decentralized by formation of Hill Development Councils for the Leh and Kargil Districts. This was given effect to by enacting the Jammu and Kashmir Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997. Under the said Act, the Hill Development Councils were established both for Leh and Kargil Districts. In order to strengthen the respective Hill Development Councils Leh and Kargil, the LAHDC Act, 1997 has been amended further in 2018 to give them more powers.”

Currently, the Ladakh region forms a part of the Kashmir Division of Jammu and Kashmir.

The spokesperson said that there have been persistent demands from the region for creation of a separate Division claiming that the tough/distinct topographic conditions and unique cultural status, the Ladakh region deserves a special treatment particularly due to the distance from the capital.

Taking all these into consideration, the spokesperson said that the Government has decided to create a separate Administrative/Revenue Division for Ladakh. “A Divisional Commissioner and Inspector General of Police for Ladakh Division will be appointed shortly. The Committee under Principal Secretary (Planning) will finalize all other details on posts, staffing, roles, responsibilities and location of offices.”