Livid residents of Zanskar in the tourist hotspot of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir have threatened to call a complete shutdown in the picturesque valley if their demands for round the clock power supply, better roads and telecom services aren’t met within a week.
The threat comes amidst peak tourist season as schools in northern part of the country are shut due to summer vacation. The region is equally popular amongst foreign tourists.
According to Ladakhi Budisht Association Zanskar (LBAZ), which advocates the cause of Zanskar region of Ladakh, the state government has failed to provide them basic facilities.
“If the demands are not fulfilled within a week’s time and government fails to reciprocate, we will call for a shutdown of Zanskar region for a week and commence a hunger strike in Kargil”, President of LBAZ, Tsewang Chostar said on Tuesday.
Chostar said the region was facing major power and connectivity crisis. Mobile networks are only available for six to seven hours in a day. Despite repeated requests, nothing has been done by the authorities, he said.
The visiting domestic and foreign tourists too are hassled due to poor or no connectivity, he said.
The power situation is equally miserable and most of the people are forced to have dinner by the candlelight, he added. Due to the power outages, small scale industries, offices, restaurants and other establishments have been hit hard during tourist season.
Chostar lamented the delay in completion of Chader road and the work on Nymo-Padam-Darchak highway, which he said was going on at snail’s pace.
The LBAZ has submitted a memorandum to the state government including Chairman of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil seeking immediate redressal.
Chostar also lashed out at the Central government, accusing it of neglecting the region.
“Government of India talks about digital India, but unfortunately Zanskar, which has a huge land mass, is totally dependant upon one BSNL tower which remains off most of the times, Chostar said.
The region is known for its tourist destinations yet, not even a single tourist infrastructural project has been granted by the Centre, he said.
He also called upon the government to ensure preservation of ancient monuments which are slowly vanishing from Zanskar area due to step-motherly treatment by the government.