SRINAGAR: The draft land allotment policy for industries in the Union Territory of Ladakh has faced sharp criticism from bodies leading the agitation for statehood and safeguards for jobs and land.

The draft “Ladakh Industrial Land Allotment Policy-2023” was made public by the UT administration last month to seek suggestions and comments.

Both the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) have described the proposed policy as an assault on the powers of the elected Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils.

The LAB has stated that the policy seems to bypass the powers and responsibilities of the Hill Councils.

“The policy should respect the roles and powers of LAHDCs in land allocation and leasing, as outlined in the relevant legal provisions. Ignoring these provisions directly violates the authority of LAHDC Act-1995, undermines the autonomy of these councils, and goes against the wishes of the local population,” the LAB said.

The Leh Apex Body has advocated for the involvement of elected representatives of LAHDCs, Municipalities, and Panchayati Raj Institutions to “ensure that the interests and concerns of the people of Ladakh are adequately represented in the decision-making process.”

In their objections, the KDA has said that the policy usurps the land allotment powers of the Hill Councils of the UT. “As of now, the Autonomous Hill Development Councils are the concerned authority to lease the land for public purpose. The new policy is silent on how the powers of the Autonomous Hill Development Councils will be accommodated and what role the Hill Development Council will have in the allotment of land for industrial purposes,” the body said.

The KDA has demanded the involvement of the Hill Councils in land allotment, stating that the power of transferring land lies with them by virtue of laws governing the Councils.

Citing the eco-fragility and tribal identity of Ladakh, both bodies have also called for incorporating environmental safeguards in the land allotment policy.

They have also pressed for reservation and priority for inhabitants of Ladakh. (KNO)


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