Ladakh demands opening of new Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route

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Leh, Aug 12: Opening of Kailash Mansarovar yatra route from Ladakh, royalty in hydro power projects and a multi-purpose tunnel through Khardongla were some of the demands put forth by Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council before Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.

Council Chairman Rigzin Spalbar met Modi and presented a memorandum listing out demands of the Ladakh region besides seeking a one-time grant of Rs 200 crore for development works in the region by the Council. The Prime Minister, who is here to inaugurate the 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo Hydroelectric Project here and 44 MW Chutak Power station in Kargil, assured Spalbar that he would look into all the demands put forth by the Council.

Demanding mega solar projects of 5000 mega watts and 2500 mega watts in the region, the Council also demanded a 12.5 per cent royalty in favour of the Council on the hydro projects. The Council said these projects will acquire huge chunks of land from eastern Ladakh region where population is dependent on animal husbandry thus having a negative impact on the livelihood of the people.

“…The project is also expected to affect the fragile ecosystem. In light of the above, LAHDC, Leh demands a royalty of 12.5 per cent to compensate the loss of grazing land and livelihood of the local population,” the memorandum said. On the opening of new Yatra route to Mansarovar from here, the Council said, “Demchok in Ladakh provides the easiest and the safest access to Kailash Mansarovar. From here pilgrims can approach the holy mountain and the sacred lake in two days. This would also give the much needed fillip to the local economy,” the memorandum said.

Demanding opening of cross-border trade links with China, the Council said opening of Demchok for cross-border trade on the pattern of Nathu-la pass in Sikkim will not only boost the regional economy but would go a long way in fostering Sino-Indian relations.