M A I N   N E W S

In Ladakh, people battle for survival, politicians for votes 
Archit Watts/TNS

Leh, September 11
Even as Ladakh continues to reel in the aftermath of the August 6 cloudburst that officially killed 233 people, the state government at Srinagar has notified an election for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.

While the Council’s term does come to an end on October 16, the state government has powers to extend its term in extraordinary circumstances. And an irritated Chief Executive Councillor, Cherring Dorje, is convinced that Srinagar did not apply its mind before notifying the election.

The notification has been followed by restrictions under the model code of conduct and his own powers to provide relief to people have been severely curtailed. Promises for relief and rehabilitation have dried up “ at a time when victims require all kinds of support,” says an unhappy Dorje. This is no time to launch an election campaign, he points out and adds that his party, Ladakh Union territory Front, has been opposed to holding the election at this time.

People elect 26 councillors every five years to the Council, which has four nominated members.

The election is farthest from the mind of the victims, who seem now resigned to spending the winter in tents. Not a single house has been re-built so far, points out Tashi Dawa, homeless and living in a tent at the Solar Valley relief camp. There is no way the administration can build 1,200 houses in the next two months, he says and shrugs.

The prospects are daunting indeed. The administration needs 900 metric tonnes of steel, 1,400 metric tonnes of cement, 604 metric tonnes of GI pipes besides other construction material. An estimated 2,000 trucks will be required to transport the material but with the Manali-Leh highway out of operation, everything has come to a standstill.

The Srinagar-Leh highway is not recommended for trucks. And even if an exception is made, each truck would be able to carry only 7 tonnes of material, which, coupled with longer distance, would push up the cost of transportation. 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |