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Ladakhis don’t want to be swamped by outsiders

The people are trying to measure the impact of abrogation of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, from which Ladakh was separated on August 5.

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Ladakh Jammu and Kashmir

Leh, Sep 10 (IANS) Over a month after Ladakh got the Union Territory status, anxiety has replaced initial excitement. The fear of “outsiders” threatening the existence of locals has gripped the streets of Leh.

Craving for a separate identity from Jammu and Kashmir has always been there in Ladakh. But many are now apprehensive about the loss of special status, they enjoyed under the previous arrangement, which insulated them from external influences.

Over a period of time, the rugged and picturesque cold desert has grown into an attractive alternative to insurgency-hit pristine Kashmir Valley for tourists. Ladakh becomes a thriving tourist hotspot, especially in summer, boosting the local economy.

Tourists are welcome, but the natives want to run their own affairs.

“We are simple people. With whatever little knowledge we have of tourism, we try to earn in six months to survive for the whole year. But once big industrialists are allowed to buy land, we will be out of competition as we don’t have the wealth and skill to match them,” said Skalzanj Dadul, a taxi driver.

A shopkeeper in the main Leh market echoed the views and claimed Ladakh might soon turn into a Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand — the two other hill states in the north that are battling rapid commercialisation.

“You will see Leh turning into Nainital or Shimla, which have lost their original lustre due to influx of investments. The locals merely turn into employees of outsiders,” said Pim Pim Avezevdo, who sells pashmina silk mufflers to foreign tourists.

The people are trying to measure the impact of abrogation of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, from which Ladakh was separated on August 5.

“All I know is that everyone was in celebratory mood when they announced a separate UT of Ladakh, but after 3-4 days my manager told me how absence of Article 370 would turn adverse for us and will allow migrated labourers to replace us,” said a waiter at a small cafe, located deep inside Old Leh town.

Making the situation worse is the clampdown in J&K from where supplies come to Leh. Since Ladakh is mostly cold desert, the vegetables grown here are barely enough to feed the locals and the region has to depend on neighbouring Kashmir Valley to sustain tourism.

Because of the situation in the Valley, vegetables are being routed from Manali leading to price escalation, explained a restaurant owner.

However, the central government has been trying to clear air on various doubts and make sure that normalcy is brought back to the cold desert.

“I want to assure everyone living in Ladakh, we will not let any outsiders to eat up your share of land, profit or revenues. Outsiders will be allowed in the Valley with a single aim to help native,” Union Tourism and Cultural Minister Prahlad Singh Patel had said in Leh while addressing a gathering.

(Rohan Agarwal can be contacted at [email protected])

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India

Ram Mandir: Modi’s ex-aide Nripendra Mishra gets leading role

According to sources, he has also spoken of approaching the court in case he is not included in the trust and not given the right to worship Ram Lalla.

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Nripendra Mishra

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nripendra Mishra has been appointed chief of of temple construction committee while Mahant Nritya Gopal Das was named Chairman of Ram Mandir Trust at the first meeting of Ram Janmabhoomi Tritha Kshetra Trust held here on Wednesday.

Champat Rai, the international Vice President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been appointed the General Secretary while Govind Dev Giri Ji Maharaj the Treasurer.

It was decided in the meeting that a joint account would be opened at a State Bank of India branch in Ayodhya. A total of nine resolutions were passed in the meeting, and another meeting would be held again after 15 days in Ayodhya. The construction committee will decide when the construction will begin.

Chartered accountancy firm, V. Sankar Aiyar & Co in anjit Nagar here, was entrusted with the responsibilty of deciding on the mode of donation.

New Chairman of the trust, Nritya Gopal Das said Ram Temple model would be the same as decided by the VHP “but a discussion would take place on making it higher and wider”.

Among those also present in the meeting that lasted about three hours were Mahant Dinendra Das, Joint Secretary, Home, Gyanesh Kumar, Anil Kumar Mishra, Vasudevanand Saraswati, Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Principal Secretary Avneesh Awasthi, Parmanand Ji Maharaj, Ayodhya district officer Anuj Jha, Kameshwar Chaupal, Balendra Mohan Singh Mohan Mishra of thee Ayodhya royal family.

The Mahant of the Nirvani Ani of Vaishnava Vairagi Akharas, Dharmadas of Hanumangarhi in Ayodhya, also reached the spot during the trust meeting. However, he was not a part of the meeting and was seated in another room outside. Mahant Dharmadas had been demanding since long to join the trust.

According to sources, he has also spoken of approaching the court in case he is not included in the trust and not given the right to worship Ram Lalla.

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Cities

Jamia student moves High Court, seeks Rs 1 cr in damages

The plea also sought directions to the respondents to register an FIR against the Delhi Police over its alleged brutality on campus.

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Jamia Millia Islamia

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Another Jamia Milia Islamia student here on Wednesday filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court seeking Rs 1 crore compensation over alleged police brutality on campus on December 15.

The plea, filed by Md. Mustafa through advocate Nabila Hassan, seeks the court’s direction to the Delhi Chief Secretary, the Home Department and the Department of Law to pay the compensation and provide free medical treatment.

The plea also sought directions to the respondents to register an FIR against the Delhi Police over its alleged brutality on campus.

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Business

Wishful thinking to target $5 tn economy by 2025: Manmohan

Pathways can emerge only through solid dialogue and discussions on the challenges of taking the country forward, he added.

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Manmohan singh

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Lashing out at the government for its lack of focus, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday termed the Centre’s hopes of turning India into a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 as “wishful thinking”.

“Today the government does not want to acknowledge the word slowdown. This is not a good sign,” he said after releasing “Backstage – The Story Behind India’s High Growth Years” by former Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

“In such a scenario, raising India to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 is wishful thinking”, he said.

Pathways can emerge only through solid dialogue and discussions on the challenges of taking the country forward, he added.

At the same time, he expressed the hope that there will be a debate for carrying forward the economic reforms innitiated.

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