‘Ladakh administration is working in a better way’: Tarun Chugh

The BJP national general secretary claims that making Ladakh a Union Territory has contributed to the region’s economic and administrative well-being.

Published : Sep 07, 2023 11:00 IST - 3 MINS READ

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh addresses a news conference.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh addresses a news conference. | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh, who is party in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana and Ladakh, told Frontline in an interview on September 2 that his party’s target is all-round development of the region, with tourism and trade promotion a high priority. Excerpts:

What is BJP’s stand on giving Sixth Schedule status to Ladakh?

The BJP is committed to the all-round development of Ladakh under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP’s commitment is to ensure employment, security to the land of Ladakh, and comprehensive social and economic development of the Scheduled Tribe population living there, and we are working towards it. The Union Territory administration is working in a better way. Last time, the Ladakh administration increased the reservation for STs in direct recruitment from 10 per cent to 45 per cent.

Also Read | Ladakh’s struggle for identity and survival

During his recent visit, Rahul Gandhi quoted local people to say that there has been significant Chinese encroachment in Ladakh. What is your take?

Rahul Gandhi’s comment is unfortunate and baseless. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has already made it clear on the floor of the House that not a single inch of land has been captured. Yet, Rahul Gandhi keeps misleading the country. It has become his habit to sing the tune of China, raise questions on the valour of the Army, and insult the bravery of the jawans. Today, the Indian forces are deployed in the toughest terrain of Ladakh and are fully prepared for the nation’s security.

How are the BJP’s preparations for the upcoming Kargil Hill Council election? Will it have to pay a price for the disenchantment of the local people?

The BJP is fighting the election for the Kargil Hill Council for the first time and we are making full preparations for it. This election is very important because this land has been given a separate identity by separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir and removing Article 370. Besides, a number of important decisions have been taken for the socio-economic development of Ladakh.

What is your view on the demand for a Lok Sabha seat each for Leh and Kargil?

Lok Sabha seats are divided as per population across the entire country. The Delimitation Commission keeps working on this issue. As per the schedule, the next delimitation in the country is going to happen in 2026. The Commission will then take a decision keeping in mind several factors, including population.

A considerable decline has been seen in tourism in Ladakh. What went wrong?

It is a completely wrong statement to make. The Ladakh region is special and significant for its cultural, social and geographical identity. There are several challenges because of geographical reasons. Despite that, tourism has increased manifold and is constantly rising. Ladakh is being promoted as a tourist hub on national and international platforms. The Centre lays great emphasis on encouraging tourism in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. There has been a big change in Jammu and Kashmir after the abolition of Article 370; it has led to a firm control on terrorism and maximum number of tourists have visited Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Also Read | ‘Centre’s stance on Sixth Schedule and the demand for statehood is unclear’: Sajjad Kargili

One complaint in Ladakh is that local and small businesses are unable to face competition from entrepreneurs coming from outside?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the mantra of “Vocal for Local”. The Centre is making regular efforts to ensure that local industrialists and local products get prominence. The Digital India Mission is playing a key role in this. Efforts are being made to give a fillip to trade and tourism in Ladakh on various platforms. The government has given more strength to the economic and administrative well-being of Ladakh by making it a Union Territory.

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