Ladakhis deplore Krishna's remark on Demchok road

State, Centre were informed in October, says local body

Ladakhis deplore Krishna's remark on Demchok road


The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) stated that Krishna’s comment in the Lok Sabha was an attempt to cover up the Centre’s failure to strongly react to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s move to stall infrastructure development  on the Indian side of the McMahon Line, which now marks the disputed boundary between two neighbours. “The External Affairs Minister’s statement in Parliament does not reflect the ground realities here and smacks of a cover-up attempt,” LAHDC Chief Executive Councillor Tsering Dorjey told Deccan Herald.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently confirmed that laying of an eight-kilometre-long road at Demchok in south-east Leh had been stalled following objections from the Chinese PLA. The road was being constructed under the NREGP.
Speaking in the Lower House at the end of a discussion on Sino-Indian relations last Wednesday,  Krishna said the Centre had no role in either starting or halting the road project and it was completely a matter to be dealt by the J&K government. But Dorjey said the LAHDC had informed the State and Centre after the villagers from Demchok had complained about Chinese soldiers’ attempts to intimidate them and stop the work on the the road.

“Neither the Centre nor the State government had anything to do with the road,” said Dorjey. “But when soldiers of the neighbouring country intimidated our people and made them stop building the road, it was undoubtedly the responsibility of the Union government to react to it and ensure that such incident does not happen again.”
Demchok—located at an altitude of 5009 metres—is a tiny village just adjacent to the LAC in Ladakh. The other side of the LAC is known as Demqog, which is in the Ngari prefecture of Chinese-occupied Tibet Autonomous Region. The nomadic villagers of Demchok were building the road to get easier access to their summer pastures. After half of the road was completed, the soldiers from a PLA forward post across the LAC warned the villagers with dire consequences if they did not stop work.

“The villagers stopped work and informed us about the incident. We brought it to the notice of the state government and Centre through proper channels. But New Delhi did not react to it at all till media reported it,” said the LAHDC chief.

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