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Ladakh Union Territory

Ladakh Union Territory Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31 October 2019. The Union Territory of Ladakh comprises two districts namely Leh and Kargil. Situated at an altitude of 5,700 meters (18,800 feet) above the sea level, Ladakh is home to nearly 300,000 people living in two districts – the main city of Leh which is predominantly Buddhist, and Kargil, which is mainly Muslim. According to official data, 97 percent of Ladakh’s population is tribal. It is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and distinct culture. After becoming a union territory, the constitution of India is now fully applicable in Ladakh and all its benefit will be available to the people of this region.

Contrary to the popularly held idea within India that Kashmir has a Muslim majority while Jammu is mostly Hindu and Ladakh is mostly Buddhist, Buddhists form 39.7 percent and Hindus 12.1 percent of Ladakh’s population. Muslims, an overwhelming majority of them Shia, comprise 46.4 percent of Ladakh’s population.

The Union home ministry released the maps of the newly created Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on 03 November 2019. The maps were prepared by the Survey General of India. Parliament stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status in August by scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution, and decided to bifurcate the state into the UTs that came into existence on October 31. Importantly, areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) like Muzaffarabad and Mirpur were included in the map of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Gilgit, Gilgit Wazrat and Chillas were depicted in the map of the UT of Ladakh. In addition, the Ladakh UT includes Leh and Kargil districts. The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir comprising 14 districts is reorganized into 28 districts. The new districts are Kupwara, Bandipur, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Kishtivar, Samba and Kargil. Out of these, Kargil district was carved out from the area of Leh and Ladakh district.

Shri Radha Krishna Mathur assumed the charge as the 1st Lieutenant Governor of newly formed Union Territory of Ladakh on October 31, 2019. Hon’ble The Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir, Ms. Geeta Mittal administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mathur at Sindhu Sanskriti Kendra, Leh. Commissioner Secretary, Rigzin Samphel read out his warrant of appointment issued by the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Govind. After the abrogation of Article 370 and article 35 A in the state of J&K, both Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir were declared Union Territories by centre government on August 5, 2019. It was a historic moment for the entire Ladakh to witness the first ever LG taking oath to serve the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh.

LG Ladakh, Shri R K Mathur held a special forum of the elected representatives including Hill Council members, Presidents of Municipal Committees, BDC Chairmen, Sarpanches of Leh and Kargil districts of UT Ladakh at Sindhu Sanskriti Kendra Leh December 1, 2019. This pioneering conference was the initiative of LG Ladakh to bring together Leh and Kargil on one platform and discuss the developmental issues and aspirations of both the districts. He expressed his gratitude for overwhelming participation in the conference and appreciated the women representatives for raising relevant issues and their suggestions.

The whole purpose of holding such a meeting, he said, is to kick off action on important government decisions at district, block and panchayat levels. More importantly, it was to try and evolve a common and broad vision to thrash out appropriate developmental schemes for Ladakh at a time when scope, funds and society are all set to work towards new Ladakh taking everybody along, added Mathur. He urged to set aside any feeling about comparison between Leh and Kargil, as government led by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah is non-discriminatory and focuses purely on the fulfilment of needs of both the districts. He said that they are committed to take every individual of Ladakh along giving them equal opportunity to contribute in the growth of this country as a nation.

For smooth functioning of the administrative machinery in Leh district, there are six sub divisions viz Nubra, Changthang, Khaltsi and newly created sub-division of Durbuk, Kharu and Liker are headed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate under the overall control of the Deputy commissioner/ Chief Executive Officer, LAHDC and it consist of eight Tehsils viz Leh, Khaltsi, Sumoor (Nubra) and the Tehsil of Khaltsi and Sumoor were created during 2005-06, and newly created Tehsils in 2014 are Nyoma, Durbuk, Kharu, Disket and Saspol. The district is governed by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill development Council, Leh having a strength of 30 Councilors (26 elected and 04 nominated) which is being headed by the Chairman /Chief Executive Councilor LAHDC, Leh (rank of State Cabinet Minister) within the Leh jurisdiction who is assisted by four Executive councilors since 1995 working within the frame work of the Constitution of India / Jammu and Kashmir.

For uniform development of the district, Sixteen CD blocks namely Leh, Khaltsi, Nyoma, Nubra, Durbuk, Kharu Chuchot, Saspol, Panamic, out of which the block namely Chuchot, Saspol and Panamic created in the year 2006-07 and newly created Blocks in 2014 are Rupshow HQ at Puga, RongChugut HQ at Chumathang, Thiksay, Turtuk, Nimoo, Skurbuchan and Lingshed Singeylalok HQ at Wanla.

Ladakh - Geography

Ladakh Union Territory District Leh experiences extremes type of climate where temperature ranges from 30 degree Celsius in the short summer to minus 35 degree Celsius at the height of the winter at some places. Precipitation is very low averaging around 9 cm to 10 cm annually. The winter is always severe and makes the region inaccessible as roads link from Srinagar as well as Himachal Pradesh remain closed due to closure of Zojila, Rohtang and other Passes due to heavy snowfall.

As per record maintained by the DIHAR the maximum temperature of Leh town is recorded 26.17 degree Celsius and minimum temperature is -13.53 degree Celsius and maximum precipitation is recorded as 45.4mm (rainfall) and minimum precipitation is 0.4cm (Snowfall) during the year 2014.

Ladakh is called the Hermit Kingdom due to its remoteness and in accessibility. Leh is situated roughly between 32 to 36 degree north Latitude and 75 to 80 degree East longitude and altitude ranging from 2300 mtrs to 5000 mtrs above sea level. District Leh with and area of 45100 Sq. Kms. makes it one of the largest District in the country.The District is bounded by Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the west and China in the North and eastern part and Lahul Spiti of Himachal Pardesh in the south east. It is at a distance of 434 Kms from State capital ( Summer) Srinagar and 474 Kms from Manali (HP). Topographically, the whole of the district is mountainous with three parallel ranges of the Himalayas, the Zanskar, the Ladakh and the Karakoram. Between these ranges, the Shayok, Indus and Zanskar rivers flow and most of the population lives in valleys of these rivers.

Although, Leh district is one of the largest districts of the country in terms of area, it has the lowest population density across the entire country. The district borders Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Chinese occupied Ladakh in the North and Northwest respectively, Tibet in the east and Lahoul-Spiti area of Himachal Pradesh in the South. The district of Leh forms the Northern tip of the Indian Sub Continent.

According to the Geographical experts, the district has several other features, which make it unique when compared with other parts of the Indian sub-continent. The district is the coldest and most elevated inhabited region in the country with altitude ranging from 2300 meters to 5000 meters. As a result of its high altitude locations, annual rainfall is extremely low. This low status of precipitation has resulted in scanty vegetation, low organic content in the soil and loose structure in the cold desert. But large-scale plantation has been going in the district since 1955 and this state of affairs is likely to change.

Ladakh is connected to the main land through two roads namely Leh-Srinagar national highway and Leh-Manali road. These two roads remains open only during summer months and during the winter it remains closed for more than 7 months due to closure of the passes (Zojila, Rotang Pass, Baralacha, Changla). Leh District is connected to the Block Headquarter by roads, through a network of roads. The average distance of the block headquarter from Leh is 180 Kms. Bus services and other means of communication is very poor. Border roads organization maintains most of the highway connecting the block head quarter and PWD maintains a road length of 1060 Kms. As some of the roads to the block head quarter passes through the world highest motorable roads, it is frequently closed due to the avalanches and snowfall in the passes. Durbuk block and Nubra Block remains closed in winter months due to closure of Khardongla and the Changla Pass.

The transport service comprises of roads, motor vehicles, civil aviation, railways, and water transport. All this constituents form the base of economic infrastructure. The adequate availability of this infrastructure leads to rapid economicdevelopment, though the railways and water transport does not exist in the district.The road transport is the major and principle mode of mobility of men and material in the district. Roads are thus considered as arteries of our economy, which plays crucial role in sustaining economic growth and is vital for the development of all segments of the society. Due to difficult terrain of the district, it is very difficult to provide road facilities, however Public Works Department has constructed and maintained substantial road network in the district. Out of 113 villages of the district, 97 stands connected with the motorable road by ending March 2009.The Border Road Organization (Project Himank) is also contributing a lot in the economic development of the district by constructing /maintaining a huge chunk of road network, connecting the border areas.

JKSRTC provides services from Srinagar to Leh (434Kms) which takes two days and HRTC provides services from Manali to Leh (474Kms) which takes about 20hours or two days if you halt in between. Private taxies also operates between Leh-Srinagar and Leh-Manali everyday.

The only route accessible to Ladakh during the winter is air, Indian Air Lines operates daily flight services form Leh to Delhi and return besides Jet airway and airgo. Moreover in winter months the air services is not frequent as there are too many cancellations of flights due to fog in Delhi and snowfalls in Leh. Life in Ladakh comes to a stand still in winter months and remains cut off from the rest of the world. There are two Airports in the district namely K.G Bakula Airport at Leh and army Airport at Thoise Nubra. Leh airport connects the national capital of Delhi and state capital of Srinagar and Jammu.

Ladakh - History

Ladakh Union Territory Leh (Ladakh) was known in the past by different names. It was called Maryul or low land by some Kha- chumpa by others. Fa-Hein referred to it as Kia-Chha and Hiuen Tsang as Ma-Lo-Pho. It is said that the first Immigrants to this land appears to have been the Brokpas from Dadarstan who inhabited the lower reaches of the Indus Valley popularly known as Sham. Another wave of Immigrants who came from Karja (Kulu) were the Mons an Aryan type who first settled in Gya and spread to Rong, Shayok, Sakti Tangtse and Durbuk, the area extending from Martselang to Khaltsi. Gia was the seat of government of the first Mon ruler having been elected by the whole tribe. His kingdom included the villages mentioned above, all of which was inhabited by the Mons people He was known by the title Gyapacho, derived from his being the master of Gia.

The ancient inhabitants of Ladakh were Dards, an Indo- Aryan race. Immigrants of Tibet, Skardo and nearby parts like Purang, Guge settled in Ladakh, whose racial characters and cultures were in consonance with early settlers. Buddhism traveled from central India to Tibet via Ladakh leaving its imprint in Ladakh. Islamic missionaries also made a peaceful penetration of Islam in the early 16th century. German Moravian Missionaries having cognizance of East India Company also made inroads towards conversion but with little success.

In the 10th century AD, Skit Lde Nemagon, the ruler of Tibet, invaded Ladakh where there was no central authority. The lands divided in small principalities were at war with each other. Nemagon defeated them one by one and established a strong kingdom at Shey, 15 Kms from Leh, as its capital. Ladakh was an independent country since the middle of the 10th century.

King Singge Namgyal had consolidated the Ladakhi Empire into a strong kingdom. He was not only a strong monarch but a statesman, a diplomat and a builder. He built the historic 9- storeyed Leh palace and made the other neighboring countries envy of such an elegant palace. He also promoted horse polo in Ladakh.

In the ancient times the present Leh district was a part of Greater Ladakh spread over from Kailash Mansarover to Swaat (Dardistan). The Greater Ladakh was neither under the Domain of Tibet or its influence. Not much information is available about the ancient History of Ladakh. However, reference about the place and its neighbourhood in Arab, Chinese and Mongolian histories gives an idea that in the 7th Century A.D fierce wars were fought by Tibet and China in Baltistan area of the Greater Ladakh in which deserts and barren mountains of Ladakh was turned into battle fields for the warring armies.

In the 8th century AD Arabs also jumped into these wars and changed their sides between China and Tibet. Around this period, the ruler of Kashmir, Laltadita conquered Ladakh. In the 8th Century AD itself, The Arabs conquered Kashghar and established their control over Central Asia which embraced Islam in the 9th century AD and thus a buffer state came into being between Tibet and China, terminating the hostilities between the two warring countries. The greater Ladakh also fell into pieces.

A thousand years ago before the control of Tibets rule, king Skitde Nemagon, ruled over Ladakh which was known as Muryul (Red Country), as most of the mountains and the soil in Ladakh wears a red tinge. In the 10th Century AD Skitday Nemagon, along with a couple of hundred men, invaded Ladakh where there was no central authority. The Land was divided in small principalities, which were at war with each other. Nemagon defeated all of them and established a strong central authority. Those days Shey, was the capital of Ladakh became to be known as Nariskorsoom, a country of three provinces. The present Ladakh was divided into two provinces while the third comprised western Tibet. The area of western Tibet slipped away from the kingdom but was reunited in 16th Century A.D. by the famous Ladakhi ruler Sengge Namgyal. Ladakh was an independent country since the middle of 10th century.

In the post-partition scenario, Pakistan and China illegally occupied 78,114 sq. km and 37,555 sq.km of the state, respectively while the remaining part of the state acceded to India. Pakistan also illegally gifted 5180 sq.kms of this area to China. Ladakh, comprising the areas of present Leh and Kargil districts, became one of the seven districts of the State. In 1979 when the reorganization of the districts was carried out, the Ladakh district was divided into two full fledged district of Leh and Kargil.

Kargil with a population of 1.25 lakhs is scattered over an area of 14,086 Sq. Km. It is situated at a distance of 205 KM from Srinagar towards Leh. Kargil is called the land of Agas in the present day world. It is due to the fact that Kargil is mostly inhabited by Shia Muslims and Agas are the religious head and preachers.

The name Kargil is derived from two words Khar and rKil. Khar means castle and rKil means center thus a place between castles as the place lay between many kingdoms. In the views of many critics, the word Kargil has been derived from the words Gar and Khil. Gar in local language mean ‘Any where’ and Khil means a central place where people could stay. This has the support of the fact that the place is equidistant from Srinagar, Skardo, Leh and Padum with around 200 Kms. With the passage of time Khar rKil or Gar Khil came to be known as Kargil. The present bureaucrat and historian Parvez Dewan in his contribution to the book “Kargil Blunder” reveals that a pioneer namely Kargeel cleared the forests in Poyen and Shilikchay area before the advent of Thatha Khan to dwell in the area and later the place assumed its name.

Gasho Tha Tha Khan is said to be the first renowned crusader who established a dynasty in the area. Tha Tha Khan was a scion of the royal family of Gilgit who captured Kargil in early 8th century. His dynasty ruled the Sod area of Kargil in early period and later permanently settled in Shakar Chiktan area where the dynasty is till in existence. Kacho’s of Kargil are believed to be the off-shoots of Tha Tha Khan. Purik Sulatan believed to be a renowned builder of Kargil who established his domain in Suru area and ruled from Karchay Khar near Sankoo. Kunchok Sherabtan of Fokar, Kalon of Mulback and many Kachos, Sultans and Maqpons of Sod, Pashkum, Wakha, Chiktan, Karchey ruled the area of Kargil and expanded their principalities to be merged with the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31st October 2019 and Kargil came under The Union Territory of Ladakh.

In ancient time, the major part of present Kargil was named as Purik. This name has been given by the Tibetan scholars as the people living in this part of the land have the features of Tibetans. Drass is inhabited by the people of the Dard race and Zanskar has Ladakhi – Tibeto stock. The racial stocks of Kargilis are Aryans, Dard, Tibetans and Mongoloids. Kargil is a place where people of multi- ethnic, multi-languish, multi- cultural are living in. The types of people are Brogpas, Baltis, Purik, Shinas and Ladakhi. The languages spoken are Shina, Balti, Purig , Ladakhi ec. As the Balti and Shina languages are written in Urdu script, Urdu is common in the area. Islam came to Kargil in 15th century. Mir Shams-ud-Din Iraqi, a scholar of Shia school of central Asia visited Baltistan and Kargil with his missionaries to preach Islam. The chief of Baltistan embraced Islam first and it was later followed by the Chiefs of Kargil. Prior to Mir Shams-ud-Din Iraqi Khawaja Noorbaksh visited Kargil and done a lot of Islamic preaching. Thus Buddhism remained sequeezed in Kargil to the places like Sapi, Phokar, Mulback, Wakha Bodh-Kharboo areas a Darchik Garkon and Zanskar.

Kargil became a separate district in the Ladakh region during the year 1979 when it was bifurcated from the earstwhile Leh ditrict. Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Kargil was commissioned in July 2003 in the district. The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council has 30 Councilors out of which 26 Councilors are elected while the remaining 4 are nominated. Kargil district is consisting of nine administrative Blocks.

Ladakh - People

Ladakh Union Territory According to the population census of 2011, the District has a population of 1,33487 souls among male is 78971 and female is 54516 and the population of J&K State is 1,25,41302 souls, among 6640662 male and 5900640 female. The density of population is about 3 persons per sq.km against 124 persons per Sq km of the State as per 2011 census. The district is predominantly rural with small segment of urbanites. As per 2011 census 87816 persons live in rural area and the rest 45671 are urbanites, which constitute 65.79 rural and 34.21 % urban.

Leh is the largest district in the country in terms of area. It is one of the coldest and most elevated inhabited region of the world having 112 inhabited and 1 uninhabited villages. As per census 1991 population of the district is estimated as 0.895 lacs. which is risen to 1.17 lacs during census 2001. Population growth rate of 29.97% has been recorded during the decade 1991-2001 in the district. As per 2001 census 75.57% population is residing in the rural area. The biggest ethnic group is Buddhist having 77.30% of population followed by Muslims with 13.78% and Hindus with 8.16%. The main working force account for 33.07% to the total population where as marginal workers account for 16.50 % and non-workers 49.58%. The main occupation engaging the working force is cultivation (37.92%), agriculture labour (4.28%), household industry (1.24%) and other works (56.56%). As per Provisional population figures of 2011 Census, the total no of villages are 113.

The sex ratio in the district is 690 females per 1000 males which is very contradictory, against 889 females per 1000 males in the State as per 2011 census. The sex ratio of population in the age group of 0-6 of the district is 946 females per 1000 males which is good and it reflects that the sex ratio of Leh District is normal. The sex ratio of population in the age group of 0-6 of State is 862 female per 1000 males as per 2011 census.

The total literacy rate in the District is 77% and among males literacy rate is 86% and among females it is 64%, against the total Literacy rate of the State is 67% and among male literacy rate is 77% and female literacy rate is 56% as per 2011 census.

Ladakh - Economy

Ladakh Union Territory Irrespective of the peculiar geographical location, Arctic and cold desert climate and very low status of precipitation, the Economy of the District Leh is agro base and rural oriented and is the main stay of the local population. Most of the working population of the district is engaged in agriculture and livestock activities.

Agriculture is the backbone of the district economy as it engage over 70% of the working force mostly as cultivators, agricultural laborers and livestock rearer, yet this sector has been now affected by the service sector especially Tourism as it attracts the people constantly. According to Village papers, the district has reporting area of 45167 hectares out of which 10614 hectares has been brought under cultivation of various crops during 2014-15. Whole of the cultivated area is irrigated and mono cropped with main source of irrigation is canal/ khuls. Double cropping is undertaken in some parts of Khaltsi and Nubra blocks.

There are vast stretches of land available yet irrigation facilities being not available and scanty rainfall, these cannot be brought under cultivation and keeping in view the reclamation of these desert areas, creation of sources of irrigation becomes uneconomical. The department of agriculture is working with the main objective to improve the overall production per hectare of cereals, fodder, pulses, and vegetable and oil seeds. In addition distribution of improved agriculture implements, thresher machines, lift irrigation pump sets, trench cultivation and vegetable cellars have been made.

To undertake various agricultural activities in the field, the department of Agriculture has been divided into seven zones and has established seven farms to benefit the beneficiaries at block level. The department has achieved tremendous progress in increasing the production of cash crops viz. vegetables including potato. The introduction of Polly Green Houses has also benefited the people to produce leafy vegetables during winter months Oct-Nov and from Feb – March onwards-resulting improvement in the economy of the people/ district. Due to the efforts of the department, timely distribution of vegetable seedlings are being made available which makes it possible timely production and supply of vegetables worth crores of rupees.

Horticulture produce is concentrated to three blocks of the district viz Khaltsi, Leh and Nubra but the major producer of Horticulture is the Khaltsi block. The main productions are Apricot, Apple and others and in part of Khaltsi block other varieties i-e Almond, grapes etc are also grown. The fruits produced are either marketed in Leh town and other places or supplied to the defense forces stationed in the region. Apricot fruits are highly perishable and substantial losses occur during transportation and marketing. The only avenue for preservation is to sulphere and dry.

Animal Husbandry is an important sector among the allied sector of agriculture. Animal Husbandry plays a pivotal role in the rural economy of the district and generates substantial income to rural population. The district is deficient in animal by-products viz; milk, meat, eggs etc.To bridge the gap between production / supply and demand, the department has launched various development programmes for the overall improvement of the livestock in the district with the major objectives which envisages enhancing magnitude of production, improve quality of produce and reduce the cost of production. The key to success of preserving and improving the production potential of the existing livestock lies in the accomplishment of the objective “Improvement in the quality of animals by improving their genetic traits.” Due to dessert and extreme cold climatic conditions in the district, there is not much scope of poultry development in the district. Despite the Animal Husbandry department is trying hard to make poultry rearing as an economic activity in the district. Irrigation is the most important input for agriculture and an important parameter determining the course of the country. The net area irrigated under various crops in the district in was 9982 hectares during the year 2014-15. Leh district being a mountainous region with arctic desert conditions, experts feel that agriculture without irrigation is not possible, therefore, the barren land under cultivation, where irrigation potential exists. The entire area under cultivation is irrigated.

Tourism has won a wide recognition as an important industry in the district in view of its potential for creation of employment opportunities and generation of income on a large scale. This industry has a direct bearing on the Socio-economic scene of the district. Tourist industry provides employment to a large number of people engaged in the related sectors like transport, hotels, and catering service, cottage industries etc. Tourism promotes economic activities in remote areas.

Availability of safe drinking water is the basic minimum requirement for healthy living. For Human health and well-being, the importance of safe drinking water supply can be described next to air. The Public health engineering department is making strenuous efforts for providing this facility to the population though in the rough & uneven trend and extremely low temperature is a daunting and formidable task. All the 112 inhabited census villages were covered fully/partially under potable water supply. In Leh town the drinking water is provided by tapping the Indus water by constructing tube wells and from other sources of Gylung and samkar tube well. Drinking water is also provided by using tanker service at many localities of the town.

Provision of sanitation facilities is another basic requirement for the healthy living. Sanitation problem is posing threat and is a health related problem. Many communicable diseases prevail because majority of rural population live in un-hygienic and in poor sanitation conditions using un-safe drinking water. To prevent these communicable diseases and to save the population from spread of epidemics adoption of improved sanitation becomes all the more necessary measure. With this view rural sanitation program has been launched in the district since 1995.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 14:50:34 ZULU