Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh greets people after arriving at the revamped Rezang La War Memorial, in Leh | ANI Photo
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New Delhi: Villagers from Chushul, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, have sought infrastructure development, 4G connectivity, and permission for nomads to graze their livestock on traditional pastureland from Hot Springs to Pangong Tso, in a representation to the Union government.

On Thursday, Councilor Konchok Stanzin, representing Chushul in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, handed over a three-page letter making the demands to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was in the village to inaugurate the revamped Rezang La War Memorial.

The move came in a bid to counter China’s salami slicing tactics.

In his representation to the minister, Stanzin made a number of requests for “smart security policy”, including opening of a trading point with China, in Chushul, which is also the venue for Border Personnel Meeting (BPM).

The BPM at Chushul is where the Corps Commander level talks have been taking place between India and China as part of the steps to ease tensions that had crept up along the LAC since May last year.


Also read: China constructs another village near Arunachal, more in Bhutan, heliports along LAC


Other demands

In his letter, Stanzin sought a 4G tower for each of the nine villages in Chushul, besides fibre optic cables.

One of the first construction activities that the Chinese did soon after the tensions broke out in eastern Ladakh was laying down fibre optic cables on their side to ensure smooth communication links.

Tenzin also sought more well-equipped medical and better education facilities, and an uninterrupted reliable supply of electricity to ensure that border villagers do not migrate to Leh.

Noting that there has been “war-like situation” since the last one year, he also asked for alternate land for border villagers in Leh for safe shelter in such a situation.

Grazing lands

One of Stanzin’s key demands was unrestricted access to grazing lands along the LAC. He pointed out that the Chinese have given “unfettered freedom” to their nomads to move freely.

“They, very often, use their nomads community to transgress on our land in a step-by-step approach,” he said.

However, the movement of the nomads belonging to this side of the border “are restricted by the Indian Army from grazing their livestock on the traditional pastureland from Hot Spring, Fingers to the Army-named Kailash Range (Nyanlung Yokma/Gongma)”, he added.

Saying that the nomads on the Indian side are “soldiers without uniform”, he added that the Army must not restrict their movement relating to grazing and collecting firewood.


Also read: Army beefs up Leh-based 14 Corps to counter belligerent China as winter approaches


 

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