Environmental Advocate Sonam Wangchuk Raises Alarm on Resource Exploitation in Ladakh
Renowned environmentalist and Magsaysay Award winner, Sonam Wangchuk, has accused elected representatives in Ladakh of colluding with major industrial lobbies to exploit the region’s natural resources. Speaking before a thousand-strong crowd in Leh, Wangchuk highlighted the issue, emphasizing the need for Ladakh to attain statehood and special status under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
Allegations Without Names
While Wangchuk refrained from naming specific individuals, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, affiliated with the BJP, found himself indirectly implicated. The accusation unfolded at a crucial meeting rallying for Ladakh’s unique status.
Outcry Against Corruption
The crowd resonated with Wangchuk’s sentiments, expressing their discontent with cries of “shame” as he accused local elected leaders of corruption and betrayal. Ladakh’s Kargil district observed a shutdown, and residents took to the streets in support of statehood and special status, emphasizing concerns about land and job reservations for locals.
In response to Wangchuk’s allegations, MP Namgyal maintained, “Everybody has the right to criticize,” suggesting it was a general opinion rather than a direct attack on him or his party. However, he urged specific allegations to be brought forth if any existed.
Unity for Statehood and Special Status
Ladakh’s Buddhist and Muslim communities jointly called for statehood and special status, fearing the potential dominance of non-local populations. Wangchuk claimed that around 30,000 people participated in the protests, reflecting the collective concern for Ladakh’s future.
Government’s Commitment Questioned
Wangchuk expressed disappointment over the perceived government silence following initial support for Ladakh’s special status. He suggested that industrial lobbies, supported by local representatives, were impeding the progress due to fears that special status would hinder resource exploitation.
Unveiling the Veil: Industry Lobbies at Play
Wangchuk asserted that the recent revelations exposed industrial lobbies, particularly those interested in mining, eyeing Ladakh’s natural riches. He criticized their short-term focus on profit, citing the repercussions faced by other Himalayan regions like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Leaders Alleged to Sell Ladakh
Accusing elected leaders of succumbing to industry influence, Wangchuk claimed they were complicit in putting Ladakh up for sale. He emphasized the importance of the Sixth Schedule in preventing arbitrary actions and resource mismanagement.
The call for Ladakh’s unique status gains momentum, with Wangchuk’s revelations shedding light on the complex interplay between political representatives, industrial interests, and the aspirations of the local populace.