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India's Himalayan Desert People Still Waiting for Union Territory Status

  • Reuters

FILE - Buddhist devotees wait to listen to the Dalai Lama's teachings on the fifth day of Kalachakra near Leh, India.

FILE - Buddhist devotees wait to listen to the Dalai Lama's teachings on the fifth day of Kalachakra near Leh, India.

Chief of India's regional Jammu and Kashmir National Panther Party, Bhim Singh, said people of Himalayan desert of Ladakh are waiting for Union Territory status as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi, who is on a day-long visit to Ladakh, inaugurated a hydropower project and a transmission line connecting the region with the country's northern grid.

This is Modi's first visit to Ladakh and second to Jammu and Kashmir since he assumed charge as the prime minister. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Ladakh parliamentary seat for the first time this year.

Modi spoke about introducing saffron revolution and organic farming in Ladakh and promised better road and transport linkages to the Himalayan state.

However, on Tuesday, Singh said people were waiting for him to declare Ladakh as a Union Territory.

“Modi had promised he would grant Union Territory status to Ladakh. In his previous visit to Jammu, Modi had said he would not take up the issue of Article 370. Now that he has visited Ladakh, I am waiting to see if he declares Ladakh as Union Territory, over which people had voted for him,” said Singh in New Delhi.

While addressing a public rally, the Indian Prime Minister assured people that his government would work towards progress of the region, adding the focus would be on 3 Ps- Prakash (light), Paryavaran (environment) and Paryatan (tourism).

Meanwhile, former deputy chief of army staff, Lieutenant General (Retired) Raj Kadyan said Modi's leadership will lead to improvement in infrastructure.

“Prime Minister will bring about vast improvement in infrastructure, which includes power, road and air connectivity,” he said.

Later in the day, Modi will travel to the former conflict zone of Kargil, in Kashmir, where the Indian army fought a brief war with Pakistani soldiers disguised as militants over the control of icy Himalayan peaks in 1999.

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